A little over a week since announcing a lawsuit against The New York Times for a libelous opinion piece from last year, the Trump campaign filed a second lawsuit against the Washington Post on similar grounds. The campaign alleges that WaPo published untrue statements about the supposed collusion between Trump and Russia, and they are suing for “million of dollars” in damages in Washington’s U.S. District Court.
The lawsuit surrounds two June 2019 pieces published in the Washington Post, both of which contain statements that accuse the Trump campaign of seeking interference from Moscow.
“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,” Trump’s lawyer, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement.
The first piece at the center of the lawsuit was written by Post opinion writer Greg Sargent on June 13, 2019.
“Trump just invited another Russia attack,” Sargent’s headline read. “Mitch McConnell is making one more likely.”
The lawsuit alleges that, in the piece, Sargent libeled the campaign by lying about the conclusions of Robert Mueller’s vast report on the 2016 election. Sargent claimed that Mueller found that the Trump campaign “tried to conspire” with Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack on America’s elections.
“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,” the lawsuit states.
The suit also names a Post article by Paul Waldman that was published a week later. In the article, headlined “Trump: I can win reelection with just my base,” Waldman says: “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 lawsuit notes that 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.”
“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 continued. “Obviously, the Mueller Report is a public record that has been extensively reported in The Post.”
Both the Washington Post and The New York Times have characterized the lawsuits as part of President Trump’s ongoing “attacks on the First Amendment,” and they have vowed to fight the suits vigorously.
Neither have promised to stop publishing fake news.