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White House official sues Politico for story about his role in Trump's Ukraine dealings

An official on the White House's National Security Council (NSC) sued Politico and one of its reporters on Monday over a story claiming the staffer had passed information on Ukraine to President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE.

Court filings uploaded by Breitbart News reveal that Kashyap Patel, a senior director with the NSC, is suing the news outlet for more than $25 million in damages over a story published earlier in November claiming that Patel had fed the president information on Ukraine that depicted the nation as rife with corruption.

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Patel, a former staffer with ranking House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesPelosi raises alarm after Trump loyalist installed as top NSA lawyer NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order CIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report MORE (R-Calif.), denied the claim at the time through the White House press office, which called the story "fake news."

"This case is about Politico’s malicious efforts in 2019 to target and destroy the stellar career and reputation of a dedicated attorney, senior adviser and civil servant. In a series of articles and tweets, Politico, directly and by implication, falsely accused Kash Patel of lying, deceit and unethical conduct," reads Patel's lawsuit.

"Politico intentionally published the false statements in order to undermine Kash’s credibility and impair his ability to serve the United States of America and the President," the lawsuit continued. "Because Politico, [reporter Natasha] Bertrand and [owner Robert] Allbritton acted intentionally and with actual malice, ill-will, spite and an unbridled desire to injure, Kash also seeks an award of punitive damages to punish these Defendants and to deter other so-called 'journalists' from using their pens as swords in a similar way."

Patel's lawsuit contends that the staffer did not speak with Trump about Ukraine-related issues before Oct. 30, refuting the report based on an account of claims made by Fiona Hill, a former adviser to the president, to investigators in the House's impeachment inquiry related to Patel's involvement.

Politico's vice president of communications and marketing, Brad Dayspring, told The Hill in an email that Patel's lawsuit was "low on merit."

“This lawsuit is high on bombast and low on merit. It is unserious and is a public relations tactic designed to intimidate journalists and media organizations from doing their job," Dayspring said.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on the lawsuit.