Nunes sues newspaper chain, alleges 'character assassination'

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Schiff says DOJ hasn't complied with subpoena for Mueller report Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible MORE (R-Calif.) on Monday filed a $150 million lawsuit against the McClatchy Company, alleging "character assassination" by the newspaper chain, which owns The Fresno Bee in his home state.

Nunes claimed in a Virginia state court that Republican consultant Liz Mair conspired with McClatchy reporter MacKenzie Mays to spread smears and falsehoods, including an allegation the congressman "was involved with cocaine and underage prostitutes" during a 2015 charity yacht party.

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Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed the lawsuit, which was first reported by Fox News, during an appearance on Sean Hannity's prime-time cable news program Monday night.

“If you’re out there and you lied and you defamed, we are going to come after you,” he told the Fox News host.

McClatchy said they stood by the paper's reporting.

“With the limited opportunity we have had to review this claim, it is wholly without merit and we stand behind the strong reporting of The Fresno Bee,” a McClatchy spokeswoman said in a Monday night statement.

Nunes in his lawsuit claims the alleged falsehoods were part of an effort to derail his oversight investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection What the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Steve Bullock puts Citizens United decision at center of presidential push MORE's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Nunes also sued Twitter less than a month ago, alleging that the company was responsible for "facilitating defamation on its platform" by "ignoring lawful complaints about offensive content and by allowing that content to remain accessible to the public," despite what he argued were violations of its terms of service and rules.

That lawsuit also included defamation claims against Mair.

Mair wrote an op-ed for USA Today regarding Nunes's earlier lawsuit this week that was titled: "Free speech means I don't have to be nice to Devin Nunes on Twitter. So why's he suing me?"

She wrote that Nunes is "upset" that she did her job, so he is "trying to stifle my free speech and yours."

Mair on Tuesday directed reporters to her USA Today op-ed and declined comment on the new lawsuit, citing a need to review the legal documentation.