A “private” White House official is fighting back against what he deems to be a fake and defamatory news story published by Politico.
Kash Patel, a senior official in the National Security Council (NSC), has charged Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) with “acting in concert” with Politico to leak false information to further the impeachment investigation against Donald Trump.
He’s launched a lawsuit against Politico, Natasha Bertrand, a Politico reporter, and Robert Allbritton, the publisher and executive chairman of the media organization for defamation.
All points to Schiff
There are two stories that appeared in Politico by journalist Natasha Bertrand that are the focus of the lawsuit. Both stories claimed that Patel was pretending to be an expert on Ukraine and feeding the president false information about the country.
Patel believes that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was leaking information to Bertrand that led to some rather nasty accusations against Patel. While Schiff himself has not been targeted in the lawsuit, the language in the complaint is quite damning.
Two of the individuals named within the complaint as part of the defamation of Patel are also witnesses in the impeachment hearing (former senior Trump adviser Fiona Hill and NSC Director of European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman).
Patel claims that Politico knew the information Schiff was feeding the publication was false, but went ahead with the stories anyway.
The lawsuit alleges that information was being fed to Bertrand to weaponize the media against Trump, someone that Schiff openly despises and has been trying to remove from office from the very first day he sat at the Resolute Desk.
The suit may not stand
The outcome of the suit will likely be decided based on how the court perceives Patel. He is seeking upwards of $25 million for “presumed damages and actual damages, including, but not limited to, insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, injury to his reputation, special damages, costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.”
Since he is a White House official, the entire defamation suit could be dismissed because he is considered a public figure.
Within his lawsuit, though, Patel maintains he is a private person, not someone that is regularly mentioned in the news, therefore Politico’s attacks should not be protected under the First Amendment.
If Patel wins this suit, it could completely change the way the media continues to attack this administration at will.