Trump threatens to sue CNN for defamation over ‘Big Lie’ rhetoric

President Donald Trump is threatening to sue “Fake News” CNN for defamation as the network continues to invoke rhetoric with Nazi connotations to compare the former president to Hitler. 

Trump’s lawyers sent a letter to CNN demanding that the network cease characterizing Trump’s 2020 election fraud claims as “the Big Lie.”

Trump sues CNN for defamation

According to Trump’s lawyers, CNN has used “The Big Lie,” a politically charged phrase that Democrats commonly use to characterize Trump as a fascist, nearly 8,000 times in its broadcasts.

Defamation cases from public officials usually require proving “actual malice,” defined as knowledge a statement was false or reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Trump’s lawyers argue that CNN has defamed Trump by discounting his belief that the 2020 election was stolen. 

“By refusing to acknowledge President Trump could be correct or that he could genuinely believe his contention is correct, CNN has willfully acted in disregard for the truth and has acted with reckless disregard for the truth. CNN’s relentless and willful campaign to brand President Trump a ‘liar’ and purveyor of the ‘Big Lie’ is defamatory in nature.”

CNN “rushed” to declare Trump a liar within days of the 2020 election, even as the results were being disputed, Trump’s lawyers complained. By contrast, the network allowed Trump’s Democratic adversaries to claim “unchallenged” that Trump’s 2016 election was “illegitimate” and rigged by Russia.

Moreover, while CNN has readily called Trump a liar, the network has refrained from using the same terminology to describe figures such as Jussie Smollett, who was convicted for lying about being assaulted by Trump supporters, and Stacey Abrams, who claimed that Georgia’s 2018 governor election was rigged.

“The Big Lie”

The letter adds that CNN has continued to use “The Big Lie” in its coverage despite a request to stop doing so from the network’s new boss, Chris Licht, who has sought to rein in the network’s sharply partisan tone.

CNN’s overbearing, partisan language is not unusual, however. It has become standard practice for mainstream news organizations to parenthetically editorialize about the 2020 election results using terms like “election denier,” “Trump’s lies,” and “The Big Lie.” 

In a statement, Trump warned that he would soon sue other news outlets as well.

“I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me. I will also be commencing actions against other media outlets who have defamed me and defrauded the public regarding the overwhelming evidence of fraud throughout the 2020 Election,” he said.

“I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our Country!” 

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