New York Times Says Trump Campaign Trying To “Punish” Opinion Writer With Libel Suit

President Donald Trump’s campaign filed a libel suit against The New York Times over an op-ed that claimed that it had an “overarching deal” with Vladimir Putin —help in defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016 in exchange for a pro-Russia foreign policy.

The article, The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo, was written by Max Frankel, the former executive editor of the Times, ran on March 27, 2019.

“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, starting with relief from the Obama administration’s burdensome economic sanctions. The Trumpites knew about the quid and held out the prospect of the quo,” Frankel wrote.

The lawsuit claims that the article “selectively refers to previously-reported contacts between a Russian lawyer and persons connected with the campaign.”

The Trump campaign claims that the article “insinuates that these contacts must have resulted in a quid pro quo or a deal, and the defamatory article does not acknowledge that, in fact, there had been extensive reporting, including in The Times, that the meetings and contacts that the defamatory article refers to did not result in any quid pro quo or deal between the Campaign and Russia, or anyone connected with either of them.”

A spokesperson for the Times said, “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.”

The campaign is represented by Charles Harder, who has represented Donald and Melania Trump in other legal threats and libel actions.


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