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The New York Times Slam Dunks Donald Trump

The New York Times fired back at President Donald Trump’s increased rhetoric against the newspaper, warning that his incendiary language “crosses a dangerous line.”

The publisher of The Times, A.G. Sulzberger, wrote in a blistering opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal that “this new attack crosses a dangerous line in the president’s campaign against a free and independent press.”

“There is no more serious charge a commander in chief can make against an independent news organization,” Sulzberger wrote. “Which presents a troubling question: What would it look like for Mr. Trump to escalate his attacks on the press further? Having already reached for the most incendiary language available, what is left but putting his threats into action?”

Last weekend, Trump stepped up his attacks on the Times — which he’d previously called “fake news” and the “enemy of the people” — by blasting its reporting on U.S. cyberattacks on Russia’s power grid. He also accused the newspaper of conducting “a virtual act of Treason”:

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump added: “…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Sulzberger defended the Times’ reporting and noted how its reporter had “contacted officials at the White House National Security Council, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command and gave them the opportunity to raise any national-security concerns about the story. They told us they did not have any. Shortly after publication, the president accused the Times of treason.”

“Over 167 years, through 33 presidential administrations, the Times has sought to serve America and its citizens by seeking the truth and helping people understand the world. There is nothing we take more seriously than doing this work fairly and accurately, even when we are under attack. Mr. Trump’s campaign against journalists should concern every patriotic American. A free, fair and independent press is essential to our country’s strength and vitality and to every freedom that makes it great.”

Sulzberger’s comments echoed a tweet published by the newspaper in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s accusation:

RELATED: Donald Trump Accuses Journalists At The NYT Of ‘Treason’ — A Crime Punishable By Death.

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