Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has filed a lawsuit against NBCUniversal Media, alleging defamation after MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow accused him of colluding with a Russian agent to favor Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
The complaint, filed in federal court in Texas, specifically mentioned comments Maddow made on a March 18 show when she claimed the congressman had refused to hand a package over to the FBI that he’d received from a suspected Russian agent.
“Congressman Nunes has refused to answer questions about what he received from Andriy Derkach,” Maddow said at the time. “He has refused to show the contents of the package to other members of the intelligence community.”
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“He has refused to hand it over to the FBI which is what you should do if you get something from somebody who is sanctioned by the US as a Russian agent,” she added.
Maddow was one of several liberal media pundits to question the legitimacy of Trump’s win over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, suggesting his campaign had colluded with Russia. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election found no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump’s team and the Kremlin.
Nunes denied Maddow’s claim from March and argued in the lawsuit that Maddow falsely accused him of treason and obstruction of justice. He also alleged she has shown “public ridicule, scorn, contempt, censure, and prejudice” toward him, and that Maddow and MSNBC “harbor an institutional hostility, hatred, extreme bias, spite and ill-will” toward him.
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The congressman’s lawsuit against Maddow is one of several he’s filed against media outlets.
In 2019, Nunes sued CNN for $435 million over what he called “false and defamatory” claims. The lawsuit, which was tossed by a judge in February of this year, alleged the network published “numerous egregiously false and defamatory” statements about Nunes on Nov. 22, 2019, claiming that he met with Ukranian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in Vienna in 2018 to dig “up dirt” on Hunter and Joe Biden.
Nunes said he “did not go to Vienna or anywhere else in Austria in 2018” and had “never met” Shokin.
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The representative also sued Twitter for $250 million in March 2019, alleging the social media platform was “shadow-banning conservatives.” A Virginia judge dismissed the suit in June of last year.