The Trump presidential campaign announced on Wednesday that it had filed a libel suit against the New York Times over a March 27, 2019 column by former Times editor Max Frankel.
In the column, Frankel alleged that the 2016 Trump campaign accepted help from Russia to beat rival Hillary Clinton in exchange for a new U.S. foreign policy more beneficial to Trump once he won the election.
The Trump campaign and Putin “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,” Frankel wrote.
“Donald Trump for President, Inc. today filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Times over a story falsely reporting as fact a conspiracy with Russia,” read a statement from the Trump 2020 campaign. “The lawsuit…aims to hold the news organization accountable for intentionally publishing false statements against President Trump’s campaign.”
Frankel’s column was published in the Times’s Opinion section, so it is unclear whether the libel suit will have any effect.
The announcement of the lawsuit follows controversy over a February 21 article in the Times in which several anonymous sources alleged that top election security official Shelby Pierson told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election to boost Trump. On Wednesday, two senior intelligence officials, one former and one current, told NBC they believed Pierson’s briefing was misinterpreted by Democratic lawmakers on the Committee.