Former President Donald Trump slapped a defamation lawsuit against the Pulitzer Prize board Tuesday for awarding the Washington Post and New York Times in 2018 for their coverage of the Russia investigation.
Excoriating the two newspapers for championing the “now-debunked theory” of so-called collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign, the former president’s lawyers claimed he incurred damage to his reputation and argued the defendants acted with “actual malice and the intention to harm President Trump and his reputation.”
“A large swath of Americans had a tremendous misunderstanding of the truth at the time the Times’ and the Post’s propagation of the Russia Collusion Hoax dominated the media. Remarkably, they were rewarded for lying to the American public,” read the complaint, according to a Fox News report.
Trump had long raged against the two newspapers for receiving the 2018 national reporting prize. Staff from both the New York Times and Washington Post were honored with the acclaimed Pulitzer award for “relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign.”
Back in May, he wrote in a letter to Pulitzer Administrator Marjorie Miller demanding the group rescind its prizes for the 2018 coverage of the Russia investigation and threatened a lawsuit. But the board spurned that demand in July and revealed it conducted two investigations of the prize, noting that Trump wasn’t the only person to make noise about it.
In October, Trump again fumed against the 2018 award, decrying it as “inaccurate, inept, and corrupt.” He is now reportedly calling for damages “in an amount to be proven at trial.”
The complaint, which was filed in Okeechobee County, Florida, asserted that special counsel Robert Mueller failed to unearth evidence of collusion and a report from a Justice Department inspector general that identified wrongdoing on the party of law enforcement officials. His team also underscored that the Washington Post has “retracted statements from several articles from 2017.”
“The Pulitzer Statement was knowingly published by Defendants to create a false implication in the mind of the reader that ‘the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration’ was connected with Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Defendants did so with actual malice and the intention to harm President Trump and his reputation,” the complaint continued.
Trump’s lawyers further raised Christopher Steele’s dossier, which was compiled by opposition research efforts that made salacious allegations of collusion between Trump and Russia, most of which remain unverified.
“While elements at both the Times and the Post were almost certainly complicit in the Russia Collusion Hoax, is ultimately immaterial whether the authors of the Awarded Articles understood at the time they were propagating political disinformation manufactured by paid sources in an attempt mislead the public and tarnish President Trump’s reputation and political prospects,” according to the complaint.
The Washington Examiner has reached out to the Pulitzer Prize Board for comment.
Trump announced his 2024 campaign last month.