Trump Campaign Files Defamation Suit Against CNN Over Opinion Piece

The campaign has filed similar suits against The New York Times and The Washington Post

Last Updated: March 6, 2020 @ 11:44 AM

The Trump campaign has filed yet another defamation lawsuit against a media outlet for an opinion piece, with CNN the target of the campaign’s latest lawsuit on Friday.

The op-ed in question, titled “Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime. Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with it,” was scrutinized for a statement that said the Trump 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.”

“At the time of publication, CNN was well aware that these statements were not true, because there was an extensive record of statements from the Campaign and the administration expressly disavowing any intention to seek Russian assistance,” the lawsuit reads. “There have been no statements by the Campaign that either constitute or imply an intention by the Campaign to seek or consider seeking Russian assistance in the 2020 election, or to ‘leave that option on the table.'”

The lawsuit is seeking “millions of dollars” in damages and a jury trial.

A representative for CNN declined to comment.

This is the third defamation suit that the Trump campaign has filed over statements made in opinion pieces. Prior to Friday’s suit against CNN, the campaign has also filed similar suits against The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“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,” Jenna Ellis, the senior legal adviser to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., told Fox News.

First Amendment scholars who have spoken to TheWrap said that defamation suits like these are not likely to succeed.

“It’s one of the functions of the press is to be allowed the latitude to say things without risking a libel lawsuit because we need room for opinion and the interchange and exchange of ideas,” Michael Overing, a digital media lawyer and First Amendment expert, told TheWrap last week.