President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has sued the New York Times for libel regarding a 2019 op-ed, alleging that the establishment newspaper published false allegations with purpose of hurting the president’s chances of winning a second term.
The re-election campaign alleges that the Times erroneously reported that the president had an agreement with “Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy” to help defeat his Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. The purported claims were made by Max Frankel, a former executive editor of the paper, in an article titled: “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo.”
The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, also accuses the Times of engaging in a “systematic pattern of bias” against PresidentTrump’s re-campaign with the aim of damaging its reputation beyond repair.
“There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions,” reads Frankel’s article. “The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”
The suit states that the Times was “well aware when it published these statements that they were not true” and that the paper’s own past reporting run counter to Frankel’s claims.
Jenna Ellis, a senior legal aide to President Trump’s re-campaign, said the allegations laid out in the Times‘ article “were and are 100 percent false and defamatory.”
“The complaint alleges The Times 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,” stated Ellis.
Of the lawsuit, a press representative for the Times said that “The Trump Campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable.”
“Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case,” the statement added.
In April, then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence that the Trump campaign was involved in a criminal conspiracy in its dealing with Russia during the election.