The Trump administration launched a lawsuit against cable news network CNN Friday, accusing them of defamation over reports alleging the president’s re-election campaign is considering help from Russia.
Speaking to Fox News, a Trump attorney said the lawsuit, seeking “millions of dollars” in damages, is about holding the network accountable for libeling President Trump and spewing mistruths to the American people.
“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,” Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis told Fox News.
“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.”
BREAKING: @TeamTrump is suing CNN.
“If journalists are more accurate in their statements and reporting, that would be a positive development, but not why these suits were filed.” https://t.co/mi1xw5tPF5
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) March 6, 2020
“If journalists are more accurate in their statements and reporting, that would be a positive development, but not why these suits were filed,” Ellis later wrote in a tweet posted Friday.
One part of the complaint, obtained by Fox News, accuses CNN of falsely claiming the Trump campaign had “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 article, titled “Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime. Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with it,” was published on the website on June 13, 2019, and is currently still up at the site as of writing.
The network would have known the information was false, the lawsuit alleges, “because there was an extensive record of statements from the Campaign and the administration expressly disavowing any intention to seek Russian assistance.”
“The Campaign therefore was left with no alternative but to file this lawsuit to: publicly establish the truth, properly inform CNN’s readers and audience (and the rest of the world) of the true facts, and seek appropriate remedies for the harm caused by CNN’s false reporting and failure to retract and apologize for it,” the lawsuit reportedly states.