The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Representative Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has filed a $435 million defamation suit against CNN over a story that alleged Nunes met with a fired Ukrainian prosecutor in an effort to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Representative Nunes was traveling overseas at the time referenced in the allegation and can prove that he did not meet with the fired prosecutor. However, that did not stop CNN from airing the story. It would have been nice if they had checked their facts. Unfortunately there are now a number of Americans who accept this lie as fact. That is a problem for a representative republic–when the news is not reporting the truth, the voters do not have the correct information to vote intelligently.
The article reports:
“Giuliani associate willing to tell Congress Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian official to get dirt on Biden” — was published Nov. 22. It was based on the words of Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Ukrainian-born Lev Parnas, who worked closely with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in pursuing allegations of Ukrainian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election as well as allegations of corruption in Ukraine involving Biden’s son Hunter. Parnas is currently under indictment on campaign finance charges.
CNN reported that Bondy said Parnas was “willing to tell Congress” that in December 2018, Nunes traveled to Vienna to meet with Viktor Shokin, the top Ukrainian prosecutor who was famously fired in 2016 under pressure from the United States, represented by Biden, who said Shokin did not do enough to prosecute corruption in Ukraine. CNN cited congressional travel records showing Nunes and a few aides traveled to Europe between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, 2018.
Quoting Bondy, the CNN report said, “Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December.”
The article includes pictures showing where Representative Nunes was on those dates. The article also includes the following:
Nunes did travel between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3. The lawsuit says that on those dates, Nunes was in Libya and Malta. Nunes traveled to Libya to “discuss security issues with General Khalifa Haftar,” the suit says. In Malta, Nunes “met with U.S. and Maltese officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and participated in a repatriation ceremony for the remains of an American World War II soldier missing in action,” according to the suit.
It is unlikely that Representative Nunes will win the lawsuit because the libel laws covering public figures are very strict, but the lawsuit is important because it illustrates the carelessness (and bias) of some of our news networks.