Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), sued CNN for defamation on Tuesday, Dec. 3, after the network published a “demonstrably false hit piece” about the senator. Speaking with Hannity on Fox last Friday, he said the story was the “mother of all fake news stories.”

On Nov. 22, 2019, it was claimed in a piece written by journalist Vicky Ward that Nunes went to Vienna in 2018 to meet with the Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, to “dig up dirt” on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

“[Nunes] was not in Vienna in December 2018. Further, he has never met Shokin; never spoken to Shokin, and never communicated with Shokin,” Nunes lawyer Steven Biss says in the lawsuit.

The source of the article on CNN is Lev Parnas, a man recently indicted by the U.S. government and charged with multiple federal crimes, according to Fox News.

“CNN reviewed, approved, and ratified the fake news prior to publication,” the lawsuit states. “Prior to November 22, 2019, CNN knew that Parnas and his attorneys or other political operatives were shopping a story to the press that made claims about the plaintiff, implicating him in efforts to get ‘dirt’ on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. CNN knew that no other news outlet would touch the salacious story because none of the ‘facts’ provided could be verified.”

“It was obvious to everyone—including disgraceful CNN—that Parnas was a fraudster and a hustler,” the suit said. “It was obvious that his lies were part of a thinly veiled attempt to obstruct justice and to trick either the United States attorney or House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, into offering ‘immunity’ in return for information’ about [Nunes].”

“CNN harbors an institutional hatred, extreme bias, spite, and ill-will toward  plaintiff, the GOP, and President Trump, going back many years. CNN is notorious for making false claims about Republicans and publishing fake news that later has to be retracted,” the suit said.

CNN’s publication is staggering,” the suit says. “CNN acted with actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth.”

The suit continues, “The CNN article was nothing less than opposition research. CNN rushed to get the story out in order to blunt the disastrous spectacle of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and to hurt the leader of the Republican opposition. CNN misrepresented facts and oversimplified issues in promoting the fake news story.”

Nunes is seeking damages for “insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, injury to his reputation, special damages, costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses,” totaling almost half a billion dollars.”

“The ulterior purpose of the CNN article is to advance the impeachment inquiry, to seed doubt in the minds of Americans, and to influence the outcome of the 2020 election,” the lawsuit says.

“Cuomo Prime Time” namesake Chris Cuomo, who promoted the story, is also mentioned in the suit.

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