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Trump threatens broadcasting licenses after NBC report

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was heard calling Trump a'moron after the July meeting where the president said he wanted the U.S. nuclear stockpile to grow back to Cold War numbers

President Donald Trump on Wednesday took aim at TV network NBC, suggesting in a tweet that the Federal Communications Commission revoke the broadcasters license.

In this instance, it was NBC News' report that the reason Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a "moron" was due to Trump request to increase America's nuclear capability - tenfold.

NBC News has incurred the wrath of Trump's ire in recent days after a report last week Tillerson called the president a "moron" and almost resigned.

The article said after Trump saw the slide he said he wanted a bigger stockpile of weapons, not the bottom position on the downward-sloping curve.

Responding to a question about Tillerson on Wednesday, Trump said "we have a very good relationship". Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup.

Further, NBC reported on Wednesday, it was after that meeting officials heard Tillerson say Trump is a "moron", a comment Tillerson and the White House has denied making. "I never discussed increasing it".

News said the president called for the increase after he was shown a chart indicating the stockpile of U.S. nuclear weapons had slid from a high of 32,000 in the 1960s. "But when they said I want 10 times what we have right now, it's totally unnecessary, believe me, because I know what we have right now".

"Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our US nuclear arsenal", Trump wrote.

Trump's threat came shortly after he claimed an NBC news story about his nuclear ambitions is "pure fiction".

Trump's morning tweets came after NBC News reported that Trump purportedly told senior national security advisers during a meeting last summer that he favored what amounted to almost a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons.

In his tweet earlier in the day Trump raised the possibility of the broadcast licenses of NBC and other networks being challenged. Trump wrote. "Bad for country!"

While it seems unlikely that NBC stations would lose licenses because of presidential interference, Democrats in Congress expressed concern that Trump could succeed in attempts to infringe upon the freedom of the press.

The agency does not issue similar licenses for cable networks like CNN and MSNBC, or regulate internet news or other websites.

"Under deregulatory measures that Republicans successfully pushed over the past generation, challenging a license on the grounds that coverage is unfair or biased would be extremely hard", the newspaper reported.

This marks the second time already this week Trump has threatened to go after a business.