Devin Nunes Sues MSNBC For Defamation, Cites Comments By Rachel Maddow

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Daniel O'Keefe Contributor
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Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes is suing NBCUniversal, alleging that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow defamed him on-air in March after making comments suggesting he had conspired with a Russian agent during the 2016 presidential election in order to help then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, and alleges that Maddow and the network “harbor an institutional hostility, hatred, extreme bias, spite and ill-will” toward the congressman. (RELATED: Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich Sues Illinois For Banning Him From Statewide Office)

Nunes’ lawyers argue that Maddow’s criticisms are based on his “emergence as the most prominent skeptic in Congress of Maddow’s marquee news narrative from 2017 to 2019: that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 presidential elections.”

The complaint takes issue specifically with comments made by Maddow on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on March 18, where she suggested that Nunes refused to turn over a package he had allegedly received from suspected Russian Agent Andriy Derkach to the FBI.

“Congressman Nunes has refused to answer questions about what he received from Andriy Derkach. He has refused to show the contents of the package to other members of the intelligence community,” the suit quotes Maddow as saying. “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 U.S. as a Russian agent.”

Nunes disputes this account of events in the lawsuit, claiming that he had never opened the package from Derkach, had redirected the package to the FBI and notified then-Attorney General William Barr of the matter.

“Viewed as a whole and in the broader context in which they were published,” the complaint continued. “The statements falsely accuse plaintiff of criminal conduct (obstruction of justice and treason), serious breaches of the Code of Conduct and violations of protocols concerning the handling of information that comes to the House Intelligence Committee from foreign sources such as Derkach, concealment and deception, lack of integrity and ethical improprieties.”

Nunes is asking for a jury to determine damages for “insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering and injury to his reputation.”