The NY Times has responded to Donald Trump’s demand for a retraction of a story about two women who claim they were touched inappropriately by Trump. The Times’ answer, which was sent by letter to Trump’s attorney Thursday, is a flat no.

In case you’ve missed all of this, yesterday the NY Times published the aforementioned article and last night, as Allahpundit noted here, lawyers for Trump sent the Times a letter demanding a retraction. The letter reads in part:

Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se. It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of this article, that it is nothing more than a politically-motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump’s candidacy. That is why you apparently performed an entirely inadequate investigation to test the veracity of these false and malicious allegations, including why these two individuals waited, in one case, 11 years, and, in another case, more than three decades, before deciding to come forward with these false and defamatory statements.

Trump’s attorney demands the NY Times retract the story and issue an apology. The final line is a threat of further action, “Failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available options and remedies.” In other words, back down or get sued.

Today the Times’ response makes clear they will not retract the story and would welcome a lawsuit.

The key lines come in the first paragraph and the last one. As to the demand for a retraction, the NY Times’ attorney writes, “We decline to do so.” As to the threat of a lawsuit, he writes, “If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those would would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to a have a court set him straight.”

The NY Times just called Trump’s bluff. Will Trump take the bait and sue? That might be a morale boost in the short run but it still won’t make the accusations, which have spread beyond the NY Times at this point, go away.

Maybe some evidence will arise to show the women making the claims against Trump are not telling the truth, but so far Trump’s attorney has only questioned the timing of the story and the thoroughness of the Times’ investigation. That’s really not enough to demand a retraction, much less to prove the Times is guilty of libel in court.