Trump campaign sues CNN for libel over Russia report

President Trump’s reelection campaign filed a libel lawsuit against CNN on Friday, seeking damages for the network’s “intentionally publishing false statements” about the campaign considering help from Russia in the current election.

The complaint states that CNN reported on Feb. 25 that 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.”

“The statements were and are 100 percent false and defamatory,” said Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis. “The complaint alleges CNN 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.”

She said the campaign demanded in writing that CNN retract and apologize for the false report, but the network refused.

The lawsuit is the third in two weeks against news outlets for reporting allegations about Russia. The campaign also has sued The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“The campaign filed this lawsuit against CNN and the preceding suits against The New York Times and The Washington Post to hold the publishers accountable for their reckless false reporting and also to establish the truth: that the campaign did not have an agreement, quid pro quo, or collusion with Russia, as the Mueller Report concluded,” Ms. Ellis said. “The campaign was motivated by the fact that the publications recklessly published false statements which caused harm and intentionally mislead their readers.”

She said false statements “are not protected under the U.S. Constitution; therefore, these suits will have no chilling effect on freedom of the press.”

“If journalists are more accurate in their statements and reporting, that would be a positive development, but not why these suits were filed,” she said.

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