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FCC chairman throws cold water on Trump's NBC threat

Chairman Ajit Pai invokes the First Amendment when discussing licensing for broadcasters.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai appears to oppose President Trump's view about what could lead to a broadcaster's license getting revoked.

Trump last week threatened NBC and "the Networks" for coverage he described as "Fake News." 

"At what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?" he asked on Twitter.

At a telecommunications conference Tuesday in Washington, DC, Pai said, according to Politico, "I believe in the First Amendment," without mentioning Trump or NBC.

"The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment," Pai continued, "and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on content of a particular newscast."

Trump criticized NBC News after a handful of reports from the outlet, especially one earlier this month that said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a "moron."

Trump named Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission in January. Other Trump appointees have also taken public stands that run counter to the president, such as Linda McMahon, head the US Small Business Administration, who offered her strong support for Amazon, after Trump had repeatedly criticized the company and its CEO, Jeff Bezos.

CNET's parent company, CBS, is another network broadcaster.