US President Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign announced on Wednesday (Feb 26) announced that it had filed a libel suit against the The New York Times over a March 27, 2019 column by its former executive editor Max Frankel, CNN reported.
In an opinion piece titled "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo", Frankel had hurled allegations that the 2016 Trump campaign accepted help from Russia to beat rival Hillary Clinton in exchange for a new U.S. foreign policy more beneficial to Trump once he won the election.
The Trump campaign and Putin “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,” Frankel wrote.
The lawsuit by Trump team alleged that the newspaper "knowingly published false and defamatory statements" in an opinion piece.
“Donald Trump for President, Inc. today filed a libel lawsuit against the The New York Times over a story falsely reporting as fact a conspiracy with Russia,” read a statement from the Trump 2020 campaign. “The lawsuit…aims to hold the news organization accountable for intentionally publishing false statements against President Trump’s campaign.”
As supporting evidence, the Trump campaign in its lawsuit cited previous news articles published by The New York Times about the meeting Donald Trump Jr. participated in with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. The lawsuit noted that the newspaper had been provided a statement from Trump Jr. in which he said the meeting "provided no meaningful information."
Reacting to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for The New York Times said, "The Trump Campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable."
Given that Frankel’s column was published in the paper’s opinion section, it is unclear whether the libel suit will have any effect.
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