Rep. Devin Nunes said he expects to depose the Washington Post as part of a lawsuit focused on an article hearkening back to the early days of former President Donald Trump's administration when the commander in chief claimed the Obama administration wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower before the 2016 election.
The California Republican made the prediction after a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that his suit — which focuses on a Nov. 9 article that initially said Nunes made a visit to the White House "late at night" in 2017 and believed intelligence would "buttress his baseless claims of the Obama administration spying on Trump Tower" — could move forward, albeit in a stripped-down fashion.
"For the first time in modern history, I am going to be able to depose the Washington Post," Nunes said during a Thursday interview on Newsmax. He said the process may take a few months, adding, "I'm deposing them on something that goes back five years ago, so we're just trying to track people down and hold them accountable."
After demanding a retraction and a correction, Nunes filed the lawsuit last year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, accusing the newspaper and reporter Ellen Nakashima of making defamatory statements about the trip to the White House in 2017. The Washington Post argued the article is "neither materially false nor defamatory," and Nunes has "not plausibly alleged that the Post published the article with actual malice," among other things.
The report has since been updated and has a correction note that reads: "Correction: As originally published, this article inaccurately attributed claims that the Obama administration spied on Trump Tower to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), rather than to President Trump. Nunes has stated that he did not believe there had been any wiretapping of Trump Tower. This article has also been updated to note that Nunes says an incident known as the 'midnight run' took place during daylight hours."
The Justice Department said in September 2017 it had no evidence to support Trump's claim of Trump Tower being wiretapped by his predecessor.
On Wednesday, the judge, Carl Nichols, denied the Washington Post's motion to dismiss the defamation claim but granted the newspaper's motion to toss the congressman's negligence claim.
"Later in this case, Nunes will have to establish by clear and convincing evidence that, even in light of the corrections the Post did issue, it published its statements with actual malice. But for now, he has sufficiently pleaded that, in November 2020, the Post published its article with at least reckless disregard of the truth that it had previously reported," Nichols wrote in an opinion.
Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has filed a bevy of defamation lawsuits against news organizations in recent years and has lost previously against the Washington Post. But, the congressman said he believes the legal system will eventually hand him victory in his fight against "fake news" stories.
"I think it takes the process of law a long time. Eventually, I think they get it right," he said.
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin
Original Location: Devin Nunes expects Washington Post deposition in defamation lawsuit