The Trump campaign filed a defamation lawsuit against the NY Times in a New York state court on Wednesday:
The Trump campaign has filed a libel lawsuit against what it called the “extremely biased” New York Times, saying the paper’s March 27, 2019 op-ed titled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo” amounted to a knowingly false smear intended to “improperly influence the presidential election in November 2020.”
The lawsuit seeks “compensatory damages in the millions of damages,” as well as punitive damages and legal fees. Knowing that then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller was about to exonerate President Trump, the campaign argues in the lawsuit, the Times sought to quickly “damage” the president’s campaign “before the Mueller Report would be released debunking the conspiracy claims.”
The Times editorial included this statement: “There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo.”
This op-ed claim is complete nonsense but is of-a-piece with the hundreds of articles in the legacy media (including the NY Times) that perpetuated the Russia hoax for two-plus years before that editorial was written. At that point in time, they all thought that Russian collusion was real, and so assertions of the quid pro quo in the Times op-ed was defamation because not only was there no proof, but the Mueller report would conclusively show there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Not a single person connected with the Trump campaign was indicted for anything related to “Russian collusion.”
The details of the lawsuit can be read in the draft posted here.
Opinions on the lawsuit largely depend on one’s politics and range from “Trumpian retribution” to “frivolous” to “there is a good case for a defamation lawsuit.” Here is what the execrable Bernie Sanders tweeted out about the lawsuit:
“Trump called the press the ‘enemy of the people.’ Now—taking a page from his dictator friends—he’s trying to dismantle the First Amendment right to a free press. In November we will defeat him, restore the rule of law, and protect our constitutional rights.”
Trump called the press the "enemy of the people." Now—taking a page from his dictator friends—he's trying to dismantle the First Amendment right to a free press. In November we will defeat him, restore the rule of law, and protect our constitutional rights. https://t.co/dzHVYsBkq0
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 26, 2020
Trial lawyer and Twitter personality Robert Barnes schools Bernie on the First Amendment (Bernie is weak on the Bill of Rights in general!):
“The First Amendment does not protect defamation. The one case that threatens protected speech currently pending is the case against Alex Jones [InfoWars], a case where Bernie is silent while his allies cheer it.”
The First Amendment does not protect defamation. The one case that threatens protected speech currently pending is the case against #AlexJones, a case where Bernie is silent, while his allies cheer it. https://t.co/auhPvtWCKl
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) February 27, 2020
In another tweet, Barnes goes on to say that “while the politics of the NY state courts is an obstacle, the lawsuit is well-grounded in defamation law. The biggest discovery will be what the NY Times has to reveal.”
The lawyer for the fake whistleblower gives more poor legal advice on the Trump campaign suit against @nytimes. While the politics of the NY state courts is an obstacle, the lawsuit is well-grounded in defamation law. The biggest discovery will be what @nytimes has to reveal. https://t.co/22B70DRt8X
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) February 27, 2020
That last comment may be what the Trump campaign is pursuing, i.e., discovery. “Discovery” is defined as “the exchange of legal information and known facts of a case. Think of discovery as obtaining and disclosing the evidence and position of each side of a case so that all parties involved can decide what their best options are – move forward toward trial or negotiate an early settlement.” For the NY Times, this would mean handing over all communications from the author of the defamatory op-ed, including emails and texts to and from any and all sources.
Furthermore, discovery could easily be expanded to include information about previous false Russia hoax-related stories and their sources. Imagine what might be uncovered from the likes of Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Yates (known leakers to the legacy media!). Or what about communications with Mueller’s goons, on whom we are now seeing evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. KT McFarland has something to say about that from personal experience, as she discusses the pressure on her to sign a plea deal in her new book, Revolution. She was not charged, which is a YUUUUGE tell.
This is exactly what the Times – and their Deep State Obama-era sources in particular – want to avoid at all costs. If the judge awards discovery to the Trump campaign, watch for the Times to settle almost immediately – assuming that Carlos Slim and the other owners of the Times can pay the freight. The Trump campaign may hold out for discovery as opposed to settling out of court, as the information collected could be useful in other ways, e.g., to provide additional material for the Durham investigation into Crossfire Hurricane. Discovery would also throw cold water on other legacy media outfits who have been purveying false news against President Trump for years.
In my opinion, the legacy media have been responsible – together with the Democrat Party – for the worst and most destructive conspiracy theory in American history – one that crippled a new presidential administration by making it much more difficult for President Trump to deliver on his promises and to get the business of the country done. It’s long past time for the likes of the NY Times and a few big-name reporters who willfully got it all wrong in service of the Democrats to pay a steep price. That’s their only hope for rehabilitating their newspaper, too, as the rest of us have figured out that it’s not even worth being used as fish-wrap these days.