President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign filed a libel lawsuit against the Washington Post for “millions of dollars” on Tuesday, claiming the outlet published “false and defamatory statements” about an alleged conspiracy with Russia.
The complaint, which was first obtained by Fox News, was filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., by attorneys David C. Tobin and Charles J. Harder. The complaint specifically notes two Post articles that were published in June of 2019 and contain statements about foreign campaign interference.
Jenna Ellis, senior legal adviser to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. said:
The statements were and are 100 percent false and defamatory. The complaint alleges The Post 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.
The complaint highlighted Greg Sargent’s June 13, 2019, “Trump just invited another Russian attack. Mitch McConnell is making one more likely,” and claimed it contained the defamatory statement that Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Trump’s campaign “tried to conspire with” Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack during the 2016 election. The complaint stated the remark was “false and defamatory.”
The complaint said, “The Mueller Report concluded there was no conspiracy between the Campaign and the Russian government, and no United States person intentionally coordinated with Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.”
A second article by Paul Waldman from June 20, 2019, was also called into question in the complaint. The article, titled, “Trump: I can win reelection with just my base,” stated, “Who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance?”
The campaign’s complaint also acknowledged that the statement made in the June 20 article was also “false and defamatory,” adding there “has never been any statement by anyone associated with the Campaign or the administration ‘inviting’ Russia or North Korea to assist the campaign in 2019 or beyond.”
The campaign also stated that it believed the Post was “well aware at the time of publishing the foregoing statements that they were not true” and decided to publish the articles regardless.
“There also has never been any reporting that the Campaign has ever had any contact with North Korea relating to any United States election,” the complaint said. “Obviously, the Mueller Report is a public record that has been extensively reported in the Post.”
“There is an extensive record of statements from the Campaign and the White House expressly disavowing any intention to seek Russian assistance,” the complaint continued, before claiming “there is not a shred of evidence that there have been any contacts between the Campaign and North Korea.”
The campaign said it filed the lawsuit in order to “publicly establish the truth” and “properly inform” the readers of true facts as they “seek appropriate remedies for the harm caused” by the Post‘s reporting.
“The articles at issue herein also are part of the Post’s systematic pattern of bias against the Campaign, designed to maliciously interfere with and damage its reputation and ultimately cause the organization to fail,” the complaint added.
The Trump campaign also said in the complaint that the reporting cost the campaign “millions of dollars.”
Last week, the Trump campaign sued the New York Times for libel regarding a 2019 op-ed, alleging that the establishment newspaper published false allegations with the purpose of hurting the president’s chances of winning a second term.