Trump campaign files defamation suit against CNN
President Trump‘s reelection campaign is suing CNN for defamation, filing its third lawsuit in two weeks against a major media outlet over opinion columns about Russian efforts to assist his 2016 presidential bid.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of Georgia, is accusing CNN of publishing a libelous opinion piece on its website about Russia’s efforts to influence U.S. elections.
“The statements were and are 100 percent false and defamatory,” Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser for the campaign, said in a statement. “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. Further, the campaign, through counsel, sent a written demand to CNN on February 25, 2020 to retract and apologize for the false and defamatory statements.”
“CNN refused, so the campaign was left with no alternative but to file suit to publicly establish the truth and seek appropriate remedies,” Ellis added.
A spokesman for CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, declined to comment.
The lawsuit was first reported by Fox News.
The complaint follows similar lawsuits the campaign has filed against The New York Times and The Washington Post. Each lawsuit claims that opinion pieces published by the outlets make defamatory statements about the campaign that have been disproven by the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2020 election.
The CNN piece was written by Larry Noble, a campaign finance advocate and former Federal Election Commission general counsel, and published in June of last year.
The lawsuit says that Noble falsely claimed that the campaign “assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”
Noble did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The lawsuits will have to overcome tough legal hurdles if they are to succeed. The Supreme Court has ruled that public officials suing for defamation must prove that any false statements made about them were backed by “actual malice.”
The campaign says that CNN, the Times and the Post have shown such malice by being “extremely biased” against the president.
“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 and also to establish the truth: that the campaign did not have an agreement, quid pro quo, or collusion with Russia, as the Mueller Report concluded,” Ellis said in her statement. “The campaign was motivated by the fact that the publications recklessly published false statements which caused harm and intentionally mislead their readers.”
–Updated at 5:20 p.m.