President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign sued The New York Times for libel on Wednesday, alleging the paper falsely reported about collusion between the president and Russia.
The lawsuit, filed in New York state court, claims the news organization “knowingly published false and defamatory statements” about Trump claiming he had an “overarching deal” with “Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy” to “help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton.”
“The statements were and are 100 percent false and defamatory,” Jenna Ellis, a lawyer for the campaign, said in a statement, The Hill reported.
“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,” Ellis added.
The complaint notes The Times’ “own previous reporting had confirmed the falsity of these statements.”
“But The Times published these statements anyway, knowing them to be false, and knowing it would misinform and mislead its own readers, because of The Times’ extreme bias against and animosity toward the Campaign, and The Times’ exuberance to improperly influence the presidential election in November 2020.”
The Trump campaign’s legal team pointed specifically to an Op-Ed by Max Frankel titled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo,” published March 27, as the source of the defamation against the president’s election team.
In the article, Frankel, who served as The Times’ executive editor from 1986 to 1994, claimed, “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.
“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Barr quoted the report as saying.
The Trump complaint faults The Times for failing to reach out to them for a response prior to publishing its “defamatory article,” which offers “further evidence of The Times’ actual malice.”