Trump threatens to sue CNN for defamation
Former President Donald Trump has threatened to sue CNN over what he called “defamatory statements” about his repeated insistence that massive election fraud was responsible for his defeat in the 2020 presidential election – a claim rejected in the courts and by his own Department of Justice.
“I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me,” Trump said in a statement released by his Save America PAC on Wednesday.
“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,” the 45th president added. “I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our Country!”
The 282-page notice dated July 21 accuses the cable news giant of publishing “false statements” about Trump in “numerous articles and televised transmissions.”
Trump attorney James Trusty estimated CNN has aired “defamatory comments” about his client roughly 7,700 times and called on the outlet to “publish a full and fair correction, apology, or retraction” in all mentioned articles, transcripts or broadcasts within 10 days of the notice.
“Failure to publish such a correction, apology, or retraction will result in the filing of a lawsuit and damages being sought against you, CNN,” Trusty wrote.
The letter specifically takes issue with the outlet’s insistence that Trump’s election claims were “lies,” as well as its framing of the claims as a “Big Lie.”
“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,” Trusty wrote.
“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.”
Since leaving office, the former president has repeatedly insisted that the 2020 vote was “rigged” against him.
However, the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot has highlighted in its recent hearings that former advisers repeatedly told Trump not to declare victory early on election night, despite appearances that he would win key battleground states.
In December 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr publicly announced that the Department of Justice was unable to find evidence that massive voter fraud occurred following an investigation of Trump’s allegations.
In the weeks that followed Election Day, Trump and his allies filed dozens of lawsuits in various states alleging fraud; however, they were ultimately dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Many of the CNN articles highlighted by Trump’s attorney last week were labeled as “opinion.”
Trusty’s letter also cited reports that CNN’s newly appointed CEO, Chris Licht, called on anchors to stop using the “Big Lie” phrase in order to appear more neutral.
Trusty has called on the outlet to “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.”
Additionally, he said that the letter “serves as a notice” to all journalists, correspondents, editors, agents, and directors to preserve any and all evidence related to the accusations mentioned regarding Trump.