Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesThree key behind-the-scenes figures in Jan. 6 probe Pentagon watchdog finds NSA properly sidelined GOP operative hired as top lawyer News organizations, journalists ask court to review decision on Nunes lawsuit MORE (R-Calif.) is suing NBCUniversal for defamation, citing comments made by MSNBC host Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowBiden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet Rachel Maddow reveals she underwent surgery for skin cancer Rachel Maddow extends contract with MSNBC: reports MORE in March regarding his dealings with an individual sanctioned by the U.S. government.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas alleges that Maddow and the network "harbor an institutional hostility, hatred, extreme bias, spite and ill-will" toward Nunes. 

The congressman's lawyers argue that Maddow's criticisms of Nunes are based on his "emergence as the most prominent skeptic in Congress of Maddow’s marquee news narrative from 2017 to 2019: that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 presidential elections." 

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The suit specifically takes issue with statements made by Maddow during her show on March 18, during which she suggested that Nunes refused to turn over a package he had reportedly received from the suspected Russian agent to the FBI.  

“Congressman Nunes has refused to answer questions about what he received from Andriy Derkach. He has refused to show the contents of the package to other members of the intelligence community," the lawsuit quotes Maddow as saying on her program. "He has refused to hand it over to the FBI which is what you should do if you get something from somebody who is sanctioned by the U.S. as a Russian agent.”

Nunes and his attorneys claim that the network knew that the California lawmaker had told other reporters that he had given the package in question to the FBI and MSNBC failed to ask him for a comment.

NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to a request from The Hill for comment on the lawsuit. 

Over the last year, judges have tossed out three other lawsuits Nunes has filed against various media companies or social media platforms. 

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In February, a federal judge rejected a libel lawsuit the Republican filed against CNN regarding their reporting on his efforts to dig up dirt on now-President Biden regarding dealings with Ukraine.

Late last year, Nunes had a defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post thrown out after he sued the Post for reporting intelligence official Shelby Pierson told members of the House Intelligence Committee that Russia had "developed a preference" for former President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE.

Earlier that summer, a judge rejected a third lawsuit Nunes had filed in 2019 against Twitter and the creators of two parody accounts that regularly mocked him online.