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​Trump campaign takes on CNN in latest media lawsuit over ‘false and defamatory’ Russia statements​


'False statements are not protected under the U.S. Constitution'

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

In its latest legal action against a major media outlet, President Donald Trump's re-election campaign filed a libel lawsuit Friday against CNN, saying that the network made "false and defamatory" statements about Trump seeking help from Russia in the upcoming election.

The 13-page lawsuit, which was first reported by Fox News, says that CNN "published false and defamatory statements of and concerning the Campaign, claiming that it 'assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia's help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.'"

Specifically, the lawsuit takes issue with a post published in June 2019 titled, "Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime. Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with it." The network's website labels the article as an opinion piece and has a disclaimer saying that the opinions expressed in it are solely those of the author, CNN contributor Larry Noble.

"The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia's help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table," Noble wrote in the conclusion of the post, which focused heavily on the findings contained in special counsel Robert Mueller's report. "Let's hope Congress has the will and time to make it clear to the Trump campaign that working with a foreign government to help you get elected is never an option."

According to the lawsuit, "The statement that the Campaign has 'decided to leave th[e] option on the table' of seeking Russian assistance was made up out of whole cloth." It adds that "Despite extensive reporting on the Campaign and its strategies, including by CNN, there have been no reports of any assessment by the Campaign to potentially seek Russian assistance in connection with the 2020 election, nor any reports about any decision of the Campaign to 'leave that option on the table'" and "both statements by CNN are outright false, and fabricated."

The complaint also said that the campaign's legal team sent CNN written demand "retract and apologize for the aforementioned false and defamatory statements" in late February, but that the network refused.

"As a result, the campaign was left with no alternative but to file suit to publicly establish the truth and seek appropriate remedies," Senior Legal Adviser to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. Jenna Ellis said in a Friday afternoon news release.

"False statements are not protected under the U.S. Constitution; therefore, these suits will have no chilling effect on freedom of the press," Ellis added in the release. "If journalists are more accurate in their statements and reporting, that would be a positive development, but not why these suits were filed."

This latest lawsuit follows behind similar legal action from the Trump campaign against other major media companies. Last week, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit against the New York Times over a March 2019 post that made claims about Russian collusion in an effort to hold the newspaper "accountable for intentionally publishing false statements against President Trump's campaign." On Tuesday, the campaign filed suit against The Washington Post for two opinion June 2019 opinion pieces.

A CNN spokesperson told Blaze Media that the network did not have any comment on the lawsuit.

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