Trump’s campaign sued The New York Times for libel last week over a 2019 opinion piece written by Max Frankel, a former executive editor of the newspaper. Frankel suggested in his essay that Trump’s campaign had engaged in a “quid pro quo” with Russia before the 2016 presidential election.
The president called Frankel’s remarks “totally wrong” during a press briefing last Wednesday.
“They did a bad thing,” Trump told reporters, referring to the Times. “There will be more coming.”
On Tuesday, Trump’s reelection campaign slapped The Washington Post with a similar lawsuit.
Filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., the suit takes aim at opinion articles from last year that linked Trump to Russian election meddling.
In the first, opinion writer Greg Sargent said Trump had “tried to conspire with” a “sweeping and systematic” attack by Russia in 2016; in the second, writer Paul Waldman questioned whether Russia and North Korea would help Trump get elected this year.
Both articles cited Trump’s assertion, made during an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, that there was “nothing wrong with listening” to a foreign power if it offered dirt on his political opponents.
The Post and its owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, are frequent targets of Trump’s attacks.
He’s repeatedly referred to the Post as “fake news,” and last September, the president tweeted that two reporters from the paper “shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House because their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE.”
Kristine Coratti Kelly, the Post’s vice president of communications, told The Associated Press that it was “disappointing to see the president’s campaign committee resorting to these types of tactics, and we will vigorously defend this case.”
“The Trump campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable,” Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The New York Times, said in a statement. “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.”
The lawsuit has been filed by the Trump-Pence reelection campaign, not the president himself, which means the legal costs can be borne by a special donor-funded account, according to NPR.