Donald Trump's Campaign Sues N.Y. Times for Defamation Over Russian Collusion Story

The campaign says the paper knew its story contained untrue statements and published it anyway.
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President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is suing The New York Times for defamation over a March 2019 opinion piece that said his campaign had an "overarching deal" with Russia to ensure his election.

In a suit filed Wednesday in New York state court, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., claims NYT published its article titled “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo” even though it knew the story contained untrue statements.

Here's one section the campaign takes issue with: “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.”

Trump lawyer Charles Harder argues the NYT op-ed didn't allege it had any proof of such a quid pro quo and that the falsity of the story was confirmed by Robert Mueller's report on interference in the 2016 election.

Harder also argues that NYT is biased against Republicans and the article's author, Max Frankel, who served as the papers executive editor from 1986 to 1994, has described himself as "a Democrat with a vengeance."

"The Times never informed the Campaign that it intended to publish the claims in the Defamatory Article, did not afford the Campaign an opportunity to verify the accuracy of the claims before publication, and did not reach out to the Campaign for comment," writes Harder in the complaint. "[B]y publishing the Defamatory Article in March 2019, The Times sought to damage the Campaign before the Mueller Report would be released debunking the conspiracy claims."

The campaign is suing for defamation and seeking compensatory damages "in the millions of dollars" plus punitive damages. Read the full complaint below.