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Combination images of E. Jean Carroll and President Trump. Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour/Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Department of Justice filed a motion notifying a New York State court Tuesday that it intends to replace President Trump's private lawyers to defend him in a defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

Why it matters: It's highly unusual for the DOJ to intervene in such cases. The department said in its notice that it intervened because Trump was "acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States" when he said last year that Carroll was "totally lying" about claims that he raped her in the mid-1990s.

What they're saying: Trump "knows that I told the truth," Carroll said in an emailed statement, noting that when she said he sexually assaulted her and he "knows that he was lying when he said that he had never met me before and that I 'wasn’t his type.'"

  • "Today's actions demonstrate that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying," she added. 
  • The White House said in a statement emailed to Axios that Carroll "was trying to sell a book" when she sued the president for defamation "for denying her baseless claims" and that the DOJ's action was warranted because of a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act.
"The Department's action adheres to the plain language and intent of the Statute which the courts have confirmed applies when elected officials, such as members of Congress, respond to press inquiries including with respect to personal matters."

Read the notice via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper

16 federal prosecutors to Bill Barr: No evidence of election tampering

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty

16 assistant U.S. attorneys tasked with monitoring election misconduct urged Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday to retract a recent memo directing investigators to pursue allegations of "voting and vote tabulation irregularities” prior to the certification of election results, the Washington Post reported.

Why it matters: Barr’s move reverses longstanding Justice Department policy and critics condemned the memo for its political undertone which could fuel President Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread election fraud. Barr also faced internal criticism, as current and former DOJ officials told the Post they were concerned that he was trying to help the president cast doubt on the election outcome.

Updated 2 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called Doocy Monday evening, the reporter told Fox's Sean Hannity. "He cleared the air and I appreciated it. We had a nice call," Doocy said when asked whether the president apologized, adding: "I don't need anyone to apologize to me."