On CNN's New Day, panelists discussed the reaction to the Roy Moore scandal in Alabama.
Poppy Harlow said, "What has been revealing is the number of reports out of Alabama from local reporters on the ground, to our reporters on the ground, of so many folks in Alabama, even some Democrats who didn't vote for Roy Moore but who do not believe this one bit from the mainstream media, from the Washington Post.
"One Moore supporter said this: 'This is a Republican town, man. Moore could have killed Obama, and we wouldn't care.' How do you see it?" she asked Mike Smerconish.
"He is threatening legal action. but I think it's really largely a political defense," he said.
"I don't believe that Roy Moore will file a defamation suit. I say that as an attorney who has litigated defamation actions. If he does file the suit, I don't think he'll ever follow through with it. It is one where you are asserting the rights to your good reputation have been foregone. and that puts everything in play, in particular a case like this where he would be subject to a deposition, subject to interrogatories and requests for admissions on the most invasive subjects imaginable.
"It might be a tactic designed to forestall any more women coming forward. They, too then would have the depositions and interrogatories."
When I was a reporter, there was nothing I loved more than a politician threatening me with a lawsuit -- because that meant I would get to see his tax returns, his real estate holdings, every check he received or wrote. But it actually never happened, because they knew that, too. It's an intimidation tactic -- and, as Smerconish, a political response.