Trump campaign sues New York Times over Russia opinion piece

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 27, 2020, 11.30 AM(IST)

US President Donald Trump (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

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Donald Trump said that the news organisation 'got a lot wrong over the last number of years' 

US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign said on Wednesday that it had filed a libel suit against New York Times, accusing it of intentionally publishing false and defamatory opinion piece which claimed Trump's "overarching deal" with Russia in the 2016 elections.

Responding to the questions on the suit during White House press conference, Trump said that the news organisation "got a lot wrong over the last number of years". 

Also read: Donald Trump asks New York Times to disclose sources that US is ramping up cyber attacks on Russia

"If you read it, you'll see it's beyond an opinion. That's not an opinion. That's something much more than an opinion. They did a bad thing. And there'll be more coming."

The lawsuit is on the opinion published in the New York Times on March 27, 2017 by Max Frankel, with a headline: "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo”. A subhead from the opinion piece said: "The campaign and the Kremlin had an overarching deal: help beat Hillary Clinton for a new pro-Russian foreign policy." 

The opinion added: “Collusion – or a lack of it – turns out to have been the rhetorical trap that ensnared President Trump’s pursuers.”

“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.”

The New York Times knowingly "published false and defamatory statements" against Trump, the draft copy of the suit said.  

"The Times' own previous reporting had confirmed the falsity of these statements. But The Times published these statements anyway, knowing them to be false, and knowing it would misinform and mislead its own readers," it said, blaming the media organisation's "extreme bias against and animosity toward the campaign", and "exuberance to improperly influence the presidential election in November 2020". 

Replying to the suit, a New York Times spokesperson said: "The Trump campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable. Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgements and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case."