Trump Threatens To Sue CNN For Calling Him A Lying Liar Who Lies A Lot
Last week Donald Trump fired off a 282-page nastygram to CNN threatening to sue the network for defamation.
"I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me," he blarped yesterday. "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."
Yes, Donald Trump is going to sue CNN for calling him a pathetic liar who continues to tell insane whoppers about a stolen election. Naturally Newsmax got the scoop. Suck it, Murdock!
"I hereby demand on behalf of President Donald Trump that CNN (1) immediately take down the false and defamatory publications, (2) immediately issue a full and fair retraction of the statements identified herein in as conspicuous a manner as they were originally published, and (3) immediately cease and desist from its continued use of 'Big Lie' and 'lying' when describing President Trump’s subjective belief regarding the integrity of the 2020 election," wrote his attorney James Trusty, the former chief of the Organized Crime Section at the Justice Department, whose impressive CV does not appear to include any experience with First Amendment or media law.
Trusty's law firm, which appears to specialize in gambling law and white collar defense, promises "Hands-on Counsel, Gloves-off Litigation." Plus Trusty is a regular commentator on Fox News, so you know he's definitely not talking out his ass here!
The supposedly defamatory statements include Chris Cillizza saying "the former president’s false claim that the 2020 election was plagued by fraud," Daniel Dale writing that "former President Donald Trump continues to relentlessly repeat lies about the 2020 election," and Jake Tapper accusing Trump of "continuing to push his big lie," even going so far as to refer to "deranged election lies."
The very nerve!
Now some of you haters and losers may be wondering how Trump will prove that he was defamed when his statements about election fraud are demonstrably false. "Isn't truth an absolute defense to defamation?" you ask.
Well, have you seen the Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database documenting "1,365 proven instances of election fraud, 1,173 criminal convictions, and 48 civil penalties" since 1982? Or the Texas Republican Party's platform resolving that "substantial election fraud in key metropolitan areas significantly affected the results in five key states" and holding that "acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States"?
Not convinced? Okay, time to pull out the big guns.
True the Vote discovered that, in the five states it analyzed, some 2,000 mules averaged 38 drop-box visits in the weeks before Election Day, and the organization estimates that these efforts resulted in the counting of 380,000 fraudulent ballots. Id. Coming from heavily Democrat areas, these almost certainly were overwhelmingly proBiden ballots.
That's right, he's talking about the "documentary-shaped object" entitled "2000 Mules" by campaign finance expert Dinesh D'Souza. The premise of the movie is that cellphone tracking data shows that the same phones appeared multiple times in the vicinity of several ballot drop boxes, QED they were dumping fake Biden ballots to steal the election. What other possible explanation could there be for a person showing up more than once within fifty feet of an object parked in a school, church, or library, right?
The film has received ... mixed reviews.
\u201cBill Barr laughs uproariously about the supposed evidence of election fraud "2000 Mules" \u2014 and explains why it's bunk.\u201d— Adam Klasfeld (@Adam Klasfeld) 1655135750
In fact, Trump's erstwhile allies at Fox won't bring it up on air. Even Newsmax won't touch it, and somehow forgot to mention that it's a linchpin of Trump's claim when it reported the threat letter. Indeed, Trump's lawyer only mentioned D'Souza's fantasy film in a footnote, instead relying on the integrity of True the Vote, the organization which bragged that its data was so accurate that it helped solve two cold case murders — it hadn't.
Never mind the fact that we just sat through a month of hearings where Trump's campaign and White House staff told him repeatedly that there was no election fraud which could have affected the results.
But even if it's bullshit, you can't say Trump is LYING about election fraud if he actually believes it's true. No, not even if what he's saying is false, and he's been told one million times that it's false.
President Trump harbors a subjective belief that he was unfairly deprived of a second term in office. This is particularly valid in the context of an incumbent president receiving over 74 million votes, a record number for any republican candidate in history.32 By refusing to acknowledge President Trump could be correct or that he could genuinely believe his contention is correct, CNN has willfully acted in disregard for the truth and has acted with reckless disregard for the truth. CNN’s relentless and willful campaign to brand President Trump a “liar” and purveyor of the “Big Lie” is defamatory in nature.
Look, not for nothing, but the actual malice standard for defamation requires that the publisher knew the statement was false or published with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statement. A suit predicated on CNN's actual knowledge of Donald Trump's subjective belief that the election was stolen, despite a mountain of evidence that it wasn't, would appear to be resting on a shaky foundation. It would also open Trump up to being deposed on the strength and source of his belief, including all those pesky conversations over which he's claimed executive privilege.
Would Your Wonkette faint dead away if Trump's lawyers pocketed tens of thousands of (probably campaign) dollars for sending out this performative piece of crap and then failed to actually file a lawsuit?
Well, it wouldn't be the first time. Two years ago, Trump's campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis threatened to sue CNN if it didn't retract a poll showing Biden beating the pants off him. CNN's General Counsel David Vigilante (really!) made short work of it.
\u201cOfficial response from CNN General Counsel to @TeamTrump\u2018s letter demanding CNN apologize for a poll that shows @JoeBiden leading.\u201d— CNN Communications (@CNN Communications) 1591817818
So, let's take a wild-ass guess that CNN's not exactly quaking in its wingtips over this POS letter. And, PS, Trump is threatening to file this suit in Florida, which has a reasonably strong anti-SLAPP law, as most recently demonstrated in the case of Larry Klayman v. Your Wonkette, oh, yesterday. But other than that, you're doing great, sweetie!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.