Trump Campaign Sues CNN in Latest Libel Case Over Op-Ed

ATLANTA (CN) — Adding to his legal fights against major news outlets, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign sued CNN for libel Friday over an opinion article that said the campaign left open the possibility of seeking Russian interference in the 2020 election.

The federal lawsuit, filed in Atlanta, centers around a statement made by Larry Noble, a CNN contributor and the former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, in a June 13, 2019, op-ed.

CNN’s logo greets people arriving for the second night of Democratic debates at the Fox Theater in Detroit on July 31, 2019. (CNS Photo/Andy Olesko)

Referring to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Noble wrote 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 assertion was published in an op-ed titled, “Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime. Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with it.”

In the article, Noble argued that Mueller should have pursued criminal charges against the Trump campaign and the president.

The lawsuit is the third filed by the campaign in 10 days against major media outlets over opinion articles published last year. The two other complaints were filed against The New York Times and The Washington Post.

All three lawsuits claim that opinion articles allegedly suggesting that the campaign has had improper ties with Russia are defamatory.

In a statement announcing Friday’s lawsuit, Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis called Noble’s statements “100 percent false and defamatory.”

According to Friday’s lawsuit, the campaign demanded CNN retract and apologize for Noble’s statements on Feb. 25 but the network refused.

The complaint claims the allegedly defamatory article has forced the campaign to spend money on “corrective advertisements” and other publicity to show that it is not seeking Russia’s assistance in the 2020 election.

“CNN has engaged in a systematic pattern of bias against the campaign, designed to maliciously interfere with and damage its reputation and ultimately cause the organization to fail,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit also alleges Noble “has written numerous articles accusing the president of criminal activity, and of campaign finance and ethics violations, and has lodged a complaint against a Super-PAC which supports the president.”

“CNN clearly had a malicious motive in publishing the defamatory article, and acted with reckless disregard for the truth,” it states.

Ellis said the lawsuits against the media outlets are meant “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.”

The campaign is seeking an unspecific “millions of dollars” in compensatory damages and a jury trial.

A representative for CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

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