The Trump campaign is trying to use the president’s notoriously unreliable, often contradictory statements in his defense.
Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign is suing CNN, claiming the network defamed the president by publishing an op-ed critical of Russian interference in the last election. In the opinion piece, CNN contributor Larry Noble alleged that Trump’s campaign made an informed decision not to decline or dissuade Russia’s support.
According to The Guardian, the libel lawsuit was filed late last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Georgia. It claims that CNN published Noble’s piece despite “an extensive record of statements from the campaign and the administration expressly disavowing any intention to seek Russian assistance.”
The lawsuit against CNN is the third that the Trump campaign has filed against major media outlets in the past several weeks. Alongside CNN, Trump’s re-election campaign has also filed complaints against Washington Post and New York Times.
All of the lawsuits, notes The Guardian, concern opinion-editorials wherein contributors suggested the president or his election campaign colluded with Russia to ensure Trump’s 2016 triumph over Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
And Noble’s article, like the others, implied that Trump remains willing to work with Russia in the upcoming election. Among other things, it said that Trump’s campaign has “assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”
Prior to filing the suit, Trump attorneys demanded that CNN retract the op-ed and issue a correction.
CNN, however, declined to cooperate.
“The campaign therefore was left with no alternative but to file this lawsuit to: publicly establish the truth, properly inform CNN’s readers and audience (and the rest of the world) of the true facts, and seek appropriate remedies for the harm caused by CNN’s false reporting and failure to retract and apologize for it,” the lawsuit says.
Jenna Ellis, the “Senior Legal Adviser” for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. told Fox News that CNN intended to malign the president through falsity.
“The complaint alleges CNN was aware of the falsity at the time it published them but did so for the intentional purpose of hurting the campaign while misleading its own readers in the process […] the campaign filed this lawsuit against CNN and the preceding suits against The New York Times and The Washington Post to hold the publishers accountable for their reckless false reporting,” Ellis told Fox.
Trump, notes Fox, has long had an unpleasant relationship with CNN—he’s repeatedly called the network’s reporting “fake news,” and has barred or attempted to bar its journalists from attending press conferences and other White House functions.
The lawsuit reiterated Trump’s narrative of media victimization, accusing CNN of “extreme” bias.
“It is not entirely surprising that CNN would publish such blatantly false statements about the Campaign. There is extensive evidence that CNN and its writer, Larry Noble, are extremely biased against the Campaign,” the lawsuit states. “The news stories at www.CNN.com follow the same extremely biased news perspective.”
“CNN’s actions show willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression and that entire want of care which raises a presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences, and accordingly the Campaign is entitled to an award of punitive damages against CNN,” it adds.
The campaign, says The Associated Press, claims that CNN’s reporting cost it “millions of dollars.”