President Donald Trump and Congressman Devin Nunes are suing The Washington Post for libel and defamation in two separate suits – which an attorney explains is quite a legal mountain to successfully climb.
Trump is suing the Post and two of its opinion writers for saying that he was inviting Russian help in the 2020 election. Blogger Greg Sargent wrote in June 2019 that according to the Mueller report, Trump "eagerly encouraged, tried to conspire with, and happily profited" from Russian help. Columnist Paul Waldman wrote a week later that Trump invited Russian and North Korean aid for the election.
Nunes, a Republican congressman representing California's 22nd District, is suing the Post because it claimed he was to blame for Trump appointing one candidate for Director of National Intelligence over another candidate. Both Trump and Nunes contend what the Post printed was false.
Attorney Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says it's a very high bar to prove libel and defamation.
He explains that if it's a public figure who's been attacked in print or has had false information printed, that person "has the burden to show that not only was the information not true and not only was it harmful, but that the entity reporting it [the Washington Post, in this case] knew that it was not true and had malice aforethought in their intentions of publishing it."
According to the attorney, it will be fairly easy to prove the allegations are false. "The more difficult part, I think, actually is going to be showing that they knew that this was false and that they were in error in doing so," he tells OneNewsNow.
Dacus acknowledges these lawsuits alone aren't enough to chasten the mainstream media out of its bias. But wins in these two cases, combined with a settlement in the Nick Sandmann case earlier, he says may be the start of a trend.
"It's not going to be just one lawsuit," he concludes. "This needs to be a concerted effort of individuals to say Enough is enough - we're tired of allowing these journalistic entities the opportunity to destroy lives."
The Post is owned by Amazon.com Inc's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos.