Politics

Trump campaign sues Washington Post for defamation, week after similar legal action against New York Times

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump's campaign sued The Washington Post for defamation, citing two opinion articles published in 2019 about the campaign allegedly benefiting from Russian assistance.
  • The lawsuit came a week after the campaign sued The New York Times for defamation in connection with an op-ed entitled "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo."
  • Trump has been critical of Post owner Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, whose cloud computing arm is suing the federal government over the awarding of the $10 billion JEDI contract by the Defense Department to Microsoft.
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, ion February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Donald Trump's campaign on Tuesday sued the The Washington Post for defamation, citing two opinion articles published last June about the campaign allegedly benefiting from Russian assistance.

The lawsuit came a week after the campaign sued The New York Times for defamation in connection with an op-ed entited "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo."

Both legal actions claim damages "in the millions of dollars."

The suit against the Post was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. It identified two articles that allegedly contained false claims.

The first article, published June 13, was written by Greg Sargent and was headlined, "Trump just invited another Russian attack. Mitch McConnell is making one more likely."

The second article, published a week later and written by Paul Waldman, was entitled, "Trump: I can win reelection with just my base."

The suit says that the question posed in Waldman's article, that is, "who knows what sort of aid Russia and North Korea will give to the Trump campaign, now that he has invited them to offer their assistance," was defamatory.

Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to Trump's campaign, said that the statements published by the Post "were and are 100 percent false and defamatory."

"The complaint alleges The Post was aware of the falsity at the time it published them, but did so for the intentional purpose of hurting the campaign, while misleading its own readers in the process," Ellis said in a statement. "The campaign files suit to publicly establish the truth and seek appropriate legal remedies for the harm caused by false reporting."

The Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The newspaper is owned by multibillionaire Jeff Bezos, CEO of online retailer Amazon.

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Bezos is a frequent target of criticism from Trump, who is often displeased with coverage of his administration by the Post.

Amazon's cloud-computing arm, Amazon Web Service, is suing the federal government over the decision by the Defense Department in October to award the $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract, known as JEDI, to Microsoft instead of to AWS.

AWS last month filed court records revealing that it wants to depose Trump, along with former Defense Secretary James Mattis and current Defense Secretary Mark Esper for that lawsuit.

A spokesman for AWS told CNBC in a statement: "President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions – including federal procurements – to advance his personal agenda."

Amazon has said that Trump launched "behind-the-scenes attacks" against the company. 

Mattis in his recent memoir wrote that Trump had told him to "screw Amazon" out of the JEDI contract.

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