President Donald Trump has issued a legal threat against CNN, warning that he’s planning to file a lawsuit against the “news” network for making repeated “defamatory statements against me.”
Trump issued an official statement where he laid out his case against the network, identifying multiple examples where CNN defamed him.
The examples of defamatory statements go back as far as 2016 when CNN started heavily covering Trump with negative reporting.
One of the key examples Trump gives is of CNN repeatedly accusing Trump of lying when he was questioning the results of the 2020 election.
According to his attorney, however, Trump’s comments weren’t lies because he “subjectively believes them.”
Trump also uses CNN reporters’ own words against them by highlighting their false allegations that his historic 2016 presidential election victory was “illegitimate.”
“I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me,” Trump said in a statement.
“I will also be commencing actions against other media outlets who have defamed me and defrauded the public regarding the overwhelming evidence of fraud throughout the 2020 Election.
“I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our Country,” he vowed.
The legal letter says:
Even as state tabulation audits and recounts began to take place, and long before they concluded in mid-2021, CNN began referring to President Trump as “lying.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines a “lie” as an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive.
The definition, then, is not limited to simply being wrong about an assertion; it instead requires the speaker to know he or she is speaking falsely and to specifically harbor an intent to mislead.
In this instance, President Trump’s comments are not lies: He subjectively believes that the results of the 2020 presidential election turned on fraudulent voting activity in several key states.
Furthermore, the repeated characterization of President Trump lying was distinctly at odds with CNN’s treatment of individuals claiming President Trump’s 2016 was “illegitimate” or based upon “Russian interference.
After the 2016 election, various members of the Democratic party gave numerous televised statements claiming the 2016 election was illegitimate.
This included suggestions about Russian interference causing President Trump to win the election and regular referrals to President Trump being an ‘illegitimate’ President.
CNN repeatedly allowed for assertions that President Trump was illegitimately elected to go largely unchallenged, including statements made by Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, Jerry Nadler, John Lewis, Dianne Feinstein, Marcia Fudge, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
From The Hill:
The 282-page letter from Trump’s attorneys to CNN executives, dated July 21, calls for the network to retract or correct numerous on-air statements and published articles about Trump that the lawyers allege are false and defamatory.
The letter goes on to cite dozens of examples, many of which relate to the network’s coverage of Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
CNN coverage frequently referred to those claims as “lies,” “false narratives” and “baseless theories,” among other terms.
The lawsuit alleges those descriptions are “false and defamatory.”
The lawsuit alleges those descriptions are “false and defamatory,” in part because Trump genuinely believes his claims that the election was stolen.
“Without regard for President Trump’s genuine belief in his statements, CNN has published numerous articles characterizing him as a ‘liar’ and the purveyor of the ‘Big Lie,’ the letter to CNN states.