- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Rep. Devin Nunes sued The Washington Post and one of its journalists for more than $250 million over a report the California Republican claims to be defamatory.

The congressman’s suit, filed Monday in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, was sparked by a recent article published by The Post about Russia and the ongoing U.S. presidential race.

The article, published Feb. 21, reported that members of Congress were recently told by a senior U.S. intelligence official that Russia wants President Trump to be reelected in November and that, according to a person familiar with the matter, Mr. Nunes relayed details about the briefing afterward to Mr. Trump.

Calling it a “hit piece,” attorney Steven S. Biss wrote in the lawsuit that the Post report was “manufactured out of whole cloth” and published to “impugn Plaintiff’s reputation and undermine his relationship with the President.”

The article, the lawsuit alleges, “severely impugns Plaintiff’s integrity and prejudices him in the performance of his duties as a United States Congressman.”

Mr. Nunes is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from The Post and Shane Harris, a reporter who co-wrote the article, according to the lawsuit.

“As a direct result of WaPo and Harris’ defamation, Plaintiff suffered presumed damages and actual damages, including, but not limited to, insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, injury to his reputation, special damages, costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses, in the sum of $250,000,000 or such greater amount as is determined by the Jury,” Mr. Biss wrote.

Mr. Nunes is also seeking an additional $350,000 in punitive damages from the defendants, his lawyer wrote.

Kris Coratti Kelly, The Post’s vice president of communications, defended the article when reached for comment.

“The Post stands behind the reporting of Shane Harris and his colleagues. We will vigorously defend our work against the claims made in Rep. Nunes’s lawsuit,” she said in a statement.

The lawsuit is seventh filed in 12 months on behalf of Mr. Nunes that alleges he was the victim of defamation or conspiracy, The Fresno Bee reported.

It was filed five days after the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center watchdog group filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking for Congress to investigate how Mr. Nunes can afford to cover the costs of mounting legal fees associated with the suits on an annual salary of $174,000.

Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign filed a libel suit against The Post in D.C. federal court Tuesday over two articles published by the newspaper in 2019.

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