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Trump Campaign Files Libel Suit Against Washington Post Over Russia Conspiracy Stories

© AP Photo / Pablo Martinez MonsivaisThe One Franklin Square Building, home of The Washington Post, in downtown Washington, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.
The One Franklin Square Building, home of The Washington Post, in downtown Washington, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. - Sputnik International
US President Donald Trump's 2020 election campaign has filed a libel lawsuit against the Washington Post for publishing "false and defamatory statements" against the campaign, including that they “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia during the 2016 elections.

“Today the President's re-election campaign has filed suit against The Washington Post for false statements contained in two published articles, including defamatory claims that the campaign ‘tried to conspire with’ a ‘sweeping and systematic’ attack by Russia against the 2016 US presidential election and ‘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?" Jenna Ellis, senior legal adviser to Donald J. Trump for President Inc., said in a Tuesday press release.

“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 campaign files suit to publicly establish the truth and seek appropriate legal remedies for the harm caused by false reporting," she noted.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia by the law firm Tobin, O'Connor & Ewing, noted that former special counsel Robert Mueller's April 2019 report on the investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government conclusively disproved those allegations, finding there was no evidence of collusion.

Further, the suit notes that no Trump campaign official has ever spoken with the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), much less invited either North Korea or Russia to assist Trump's re-election campaign.

"The Post was well aware at the time of publishing the foregoing statements that they were not true," the suit notes. "Obviously, the Mueller Report is a public record that has been extensively reported in The Post. Further, there is an extensive record of statements from the Campaign and the White House expressly disavowing any intention to seek Russian assistance. Finally, despite extensive reporting on the Campaign’s activities, there is not a shred of evidence that there have been any contacts between the Campaign and North Korea, let alone any invitation transmitted to North Korea to interfere in the election."

The pair of Washington Post articles cited are "Trump just invited another Russian attack. Mitch McConnell is making one more likely," published on June 13, 2019, and "Trump: I can win reelection with just my base," published a week later, on June 20. Both are opinion pieces.

Trump's lawsuit notes that due to the Post's claims, the election campaign "was damaged in the millions of dollars, the specific amount to be proven at trial."

This is the second libel lawsuit filed by Trump's campaign against a media organ in recent weeks. Late last month, the campaign brought suit against the New York Times for a March 27, 2019, opinion piece that alleged a quid pro quo arrangement between Trump's 2016 campaign and Moscow to help Trump win in exchange for lowered economic sanctions.

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