Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, filed a massive $250 million defamation lawsuit on Monday against the Washington Post and intelligence reporter Shane Harris.
Last month, the Post claimed Nunes went to the White House to personally tell President Donald Trump about an intelligence briefing given to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) by top intel official Shelby Pierson regarding Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
The newspaper also claimed that Trump was angry at acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire because he learned about the meeting through Nunes.
But according to Nunes, the Post's claims are "falsehoods." In fact, the lawsuit claims it was impossible for Nunes to have met with Trump to discuss the classified briefing when the Post claimed the meeting happened because Nunes was in Oklahoma at the time.
The lawsuit states:
Devin Nunes never told the President or anyone else that Shelby Pierson had given an exclusive briefing to Schiff.
Devin Nunes did not meet or speak with the President on February 13, 2020 – the day of the "classified hearing" - or on February 14, 2020, and never conveyed to him any indication that Schiff was given an exclusive assessment of Russian actions.
In fact, WaPo and Harris knew that Devin Nunes was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on February 14, 2020 for a breakfast hosted by the Republican Party of Tulsa County .
The lawsuit adds, "Devin Nunes did not say or do anything to 'ruin' Maguire's chances of becoming the permanent intelligence chief Maguire's term was already due to expire pursuant to Federal Law on March 11, 2020."
The lawsuit claims the "WaPo hit piece" imputes to Nunes "criminal conduct" and "dishonesty, deceit, sharp and unethical practices, and independently actionable tortious acts, all of which severely impugns [Nunes's] integrity and prejudices him in the performance of his duties as a United States Congressman."
The lawsuit goes on to accuse the Post of publishing the story "in concert with House Democrats" in order to "impugn" Nunes' "reputation and undermine his relationship with the President."
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond and seeks a total of $250,350,000 in damages, plus prejudgement interest. Nunes is requesting a jury trial.
In response, the Post said it will defend its reporter and story.
"The Post stands behind the reporting of Shane Harris and his colleagues We will vigorously defend our work against the claims made in Rep. Nunes's lawsuit," Kris Coratti Kelly, the newspaper's VP of communications, told the Washington Examiner.