A White House official sued Politico and some of its journalists and directors for defaming it in a series of publications during the trial of U.S. President Donald Trump in the so-called ‘Ukraine Case,’ Fox News reported.
Kash Patel, the National Security Council’s chief anti-terrorism director, is claiming more than $25 million in damages in a lawsuit filed Monday in Virginia.
The lawsuit includes Politico reporter and MSNBC collaborator Natasha Bertrand and Politico owner Robert Allbritton.
Patel focused on the leaks to the media by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Schiff is leading the impeachment process against President Trump.
Republican congressmen previously denounced that the hearings—until last week—went behind closed doors in committees dominated by the Democratic opposition.
They exposed that Schiff purposely leaked to the media, extracts from testimonies that harm President Trump and turn public opinion against him.
Fox reported that Patel portrayed Schiff as a person who ignored the rules, interviewing witnesses “to create bait and bite headlines to feed his co-conspirators and media sympathizers.”
The media detailed that the lawsuit focuses on an Oct. 23 Bertrand article titled “Nunes Protects Ukrainian Information from Fed to Trump.”
Patel previously worked for Republican Devin Nunes, when the California representative chaired the Intelligence Committee. He was later transferred to the White House.
The Politico article described Patel as “among those who passed negative information about Ukraine to President Donald Trump earlier this year, fueling the president’s belief that Ukraine was replete with corruption and interfered in the 2016 elections on behalf of the Democrats.
Patel was “so involved in the issue—the text signed by Bertrand said—that at one point Trump thought he was in charge of Ukraine’s policy for the National Security Council.”
This idea emerged from the closed-door testimony of Fiona Hill, a former NSC official.
“Patel’s involvement demonstrates that the president had at least some support for the scheme from within the NSC,” noted the Politico article, quoted by Fox. The media clarifies that the ‘scheme’ Bertrand was referring to was supposed to pressure the Ukrainian government to carry out investigations that would politically help Trump.
However, Patel denied all that in his lawsuit.
In his presentation, he noted that “at no time” before Oct. 30, “Kash communicated with the president on Ukraine-related matters. Kash never supplied any Ukrainian ‘material’ to the president.
In the complaint, the White House official pointed to Schiff because he and/or his collaborators, by leaking that specific information to the media, attempted to “destroy Kash’s reputation” as a lawyer and presidential aide to promote “Schiff’s baseless Ukrainian quid pro quo hoax.”
Fox stressed that Patel issued a public denial earlier this month, saying several media outlets had “falsely reported” that he had communicated with President Trump about Ukraine.
In addition to Hill, another testimony that was used to defame Patel, according to the lawsuit, was that of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, another NSC official.
An Oct. 30 second Bertrand article cited sources saying Vindman told lawmakers that Patel “misrepresented himself” for Trump “in an effort to involve himself further in Ukraine policy, according to two people familiar with his closed-door deposition.”
According to Fox, the article said the president “believed at the time” that Patel “was actually the NSC’s top Ukraine expert instead of Vindman,” despite Patel’s lack of experience with Ukraine.
Politico’s report noted that this situation led to “the unusual steps top NSC officials were taking as early as May to avoid angering or annoying the president on Ukraine issues,” and “fueling Trump’s belief that Ukraine was replete with corruption and had interfered in the 2016 elections on behalf of the Democrats.”
“[If Politico] had bothered to wait for the transcript, they would have learned that Hill completely fabricated the story that Kash had provided ‘materials on Ukraine’ to the president,” Patel noted in his lawsuit.