Washington, 27 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US President Donald Trump‘s campaign on Wednesday filed a libel suit against the New York Times, accusing the newspaper of publishing false claims over Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, says the paper “knowingly published false and defamatory statements,” because of its “extreme bias against” Trump, and its “exuberance to improperly influence the presidential election in November.”
The move marks an escalation in the president’s long-running feud with the media. Trump has often slammed critical coverage as “fake news.”
The lawsuit relates to an opinion piece from last March by former Times executive editor Max Frankel entitled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo.”
Frankel wrote in the essay: “There was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy.”
The Times responded to the lawsuit by saying the “Trump campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable.”
“Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case,” spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement.
Worries over foreign interference have cast a long shadow over Trump, who is seeking re-election in November. A report by special counsel Robert Mueller last year showed Russia interfered in the 2016 election to boost Trump.