House Speaker Threatens To Sue ABC


Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has threatened to sue ABC for defamation and libel over an investgative report involving a federal probe of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Hastert Thursday called it a "coincidence" that Abramoff held a fund-raiser for Hastert the same week the congressman sent a letter to the Secretary of Interior that benefitted an Abramoff client.

Brian Ross, ABC's chief investigative correspondent, had been careful to report that Hastert, according to federal law enforcement sources, was "in the mix" of legislators being looked at as part of the probe. But Ross did not say Hastert was under investigation or the target of an investigation, pointed out ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider.

ABC's response to the legal threat: "Our reporting is our response."