Trump campaign tries to sue CNN over 'unfair' impeachment coverage
A letter to the outlet cites a debunked video from Project Veritas which claims to show bias at the network.
The Trump campaign is threatening to sue CNN for monetary damages following the release of a debunked video produced by a far-right organization with an unscrupulous past.
Trump attorney Charles Harder, who claims to be representing both Donald Trump and the Trump campaign, sent a letter to CNN this week, stating that his clients “intend to file legal action against you, to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
The letter, dated Oct. 16, was first reported Friday by the Washington Examiner.
The letter claimed CNN was biased against Trump and was engaged in pushing a pro-impeachment narrative.
“Never in the history of this country has a President been the subject of such a sustained barrage of unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks by so-called ‘mainstream’ news, as the current situation,” it read.
The letter does not specify the monetary damages sought, other than to say they would be “substantial.”
CNN like most other news outlets, has covered the ongoing impeachment inquiry launched by the House of Representatives into Trump’s actions with regard to Ukraine. The House is seeking to determine whether Trump engaged in impeachable activity when he pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The letter this week also claimed CNN violated the Lanham Act, which deals with trademark issues. The letter stated CNN’s claims that its journalists were “truth seekers” and that the outlet “stands for excellence in journalism” violated the law by misrepresenting CNN to the public.
The letter specifically pointed to a heavily edited video produced by Project Veritas, a fringe organization known for promoting misleading videos.
In the video, Project Veritas uses call recordings from CNN President Jeff Zucker to try and prove the network is out to destroy Trump. As The Wrap noted, the recordings feature Zucker “telling his staffers to focus on news of impeachment and criticizing Fox News for ‘years of fake news conspiracy nonsense.'” Zucker, the outlet wrote, “has made similar comments” in the past.
Additionally, CNN stated that none of the figures in the video, which also features footage of people talking about the network’s supposed bias against Trump, were actual CNN journalists.
Project Veritas has been banned from seeking donations in the state of Florida over its founder’s criminal record: James O’Keefe was previously convicted in 2010 for “entering federal property under false pretenses,” according to the FBI.
The Trump Foundation once gave $20,000 to Project Veritas.
Trump seemed to foreshadow this week’s lawsuit in a tweet on Monday. “Project Veritas-Obtained Undercover Videos Highlight Jeff Zucker’s (@CNN) Campaign To Destroy Trump. Videos Reveal @CNN’s BIAS!'” he wrote. “@TuckerCarlson @FoxNews Does this sound like a good, or even great, lawsuit?”
In a statement on Friday, a CNN spokesperson addressed the letter, saying, “This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn’t merit a response.”
Trump, meanwhile, has not yet commented personally on a violent video shown to his supporters at one of his properties last week, which showed Trump slaughtering political rivals and news outlets, including CNN, in edited footage from the film “Kingsman.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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