Trump's lawsuit against CNN is dismissed

July 31, 2023
Robert Ayers

Politico reports that a judge has just dismissed the $75 million defamation lawsuit that former President Donald Trump had filed against CNN. 

The Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal did so in a ruling that he released on Friday evening.


Trump targeted CNN with the lawsuit for its repeated use of the phrase "the big lie" to refer to Trump's claim that fraud took place in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump also targeted CNN with the lawsuit for the network's attempt to draw a parallel between Trump and Adolf Hitler.

Reuters reports:

The lawsuit, which was filed in October 2022, highlighted five instances in which CNN either published stories or aired comments referring to Trump's assertions about the 2020 election as his "big lie." The phrase is also associated with the Nazi regime's use of propaganda. The wording, the lawsuit said, constituted "a deliberate effort by CNN to propagate to its audience an association between the plaintiff and one of the most repugnant figures in modern history."

Politico provides more information about how "the big lie" is linked to Nazi Germany. The outlet reports:

The phrase “big lie” historically has referred to a propaganda technique so powerful that people who believe in its message could not believe that someone could have distorted it. It has popular origins in German from Adolf Hitler in his memoir, Mein Kampf.

Trump, in the lawsuit, alleged that this all amounts to defamation - $475 million worth of defamation.

The judge disagrees

Judge Singhal has now dismissed Trump's lawsuit and he did so because he does not believe that CNN's actions meet the legal requirements for defamation.

"Like Trump and CNN personalities . . . the Court finds Nazi references in the political discourse (made by whichever ‘side’) to be odious and repugnant. But bad rhetoric is not defamation when it does not include false statements of fact," Singhal wrote.

The judge added:

CNN’s use of the phrase "the Big Lie" in connection with Trump’s election challenges does not give rise to a plausible inference that Trump advocates the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people. No reasonable viewer could (or should) plausibly make that reference. Being "Hitler-like" is not a verifiable statement of fact that would support a defamation claim.

What now?

The question going forward is whether Trump and his legal team are going to appeal Singhal's ruling. The answer, thus far, remains unclear.

On Saturday, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung did release a statement on the matter. But, Cheung did not indicate whether or not Trump will seek an appeal.

Cheung said, "We agree with the highly respected judge's findings that CNN's statements about President Trump are repugnant."

"CNN will be held responsible for their wrongful mistreatment of President Trump and his supporters," he added.

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