On Wednesday, former President Trump announced his intention to sue CNN, claiming the network has consistently slandered him beginning with his presidential campaign in 2016. In a statement, Trump said, “I have informed CNN of my decision to bring a lawsuit over their repeated libelous accusations against me. “I will also be launching legal measures against other media organizations that have slandered me and misled the public about the resounding proof of election fraud in the 2020 cycle. I’ll never give up the struggle for the truth and the future of our nation!
In a 282-page letter dated July 21 to CNN executives, Donald Trump’s lawyers demand that the network withdraw or rectify a number of assertions it has made about Trump on air and in published pieces that they claim are untrue and defamatory.
The letter continues with a list of several instances, many of which are connected to how the network covered Trump’s frequent assertions that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. In their reporting, CNN frequently used terminology like “lies,” “false narratives,” and “baseless ideas” to describe these assertions.
Due in part to Trump’s sincere belief in his assertions that the election was rigged, the lawsuit maintains that these depictions are “false and defamatory.”
The letter to CNN claims that “without respect to President Trump’s sincere confidence in his comments, CNN has published multiple articles describing him as a “liar” and the “purveyor of the Big Lie.”
However, dozens of lawsuits filed after the 2020 election alleging widespread fraud that tipped the scales in favor of Joe Biden were summarily dismissed due to a lack of evidence, in some cases by judges appointed by Trump, providing a possible preview of how Trump’s lawsuit is likely to be received.
Trump has argued that the 2020 election was rigged or stolen against him for the whole 18 months since he left office, including most recently on Tuesday during a speech in Washington, D.C. Some audits and recounts have confirmed Biden’s victory, and numerous ex-officials of the Trump administration have claimed that there was not enough fraud to alter the result.
Numerous articles listed in the lawsuit are pieces of opinion or analysis about Trump’s remarks following the 2020 presidential election, some of which link those remarks to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The lawsuit also makes reference to remarks made on CNN during the 2016 presidential election by a number of Democrats who claimed that Russian meddling contributed to Trump’s victory. Russia’s interference in that election has been confirmed by the intelligence community.
Trump frequently makes legal threats against those who criticize him, although he hasn’t done so in recent years.
Prior to the 2016 presidential election, he made threats to sue the women who had accused him of sexual misconduct, The New York Times for negative coverage, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) over remarks made before he was initially impeached.
Trump has also suggested in the past that the United States’ libel laws should be changed to make it simpler to sue the media and authors for their writing. Trump’s predictions about the 2020 election have frequently been called “baseless” or “false” by many other media outlets, but the former president has a long-standing dispute with CNN and its staff.
CNN opted not to respond.