The impeachment proceedings are not just confined to Schiff’s Star Chamber and Congress. There is a bevy of charges, countercharges, court battles, subpoenas, and legal threats floating around out there over all this. Politico and Adam Schiff are now feeling some of those outside consequences to their actions. The first libel suit has hit and names Politico as the transgressor here.
A White House official just sued Politico and one of its reporters over stories and tweets that he says falsely accused him of “lying, deceit and unethical conduct.” Kash Patel, the National Security Council’s senior counterterrorism director, is seeking more than $25 million in damages in the suit filed in Virginia. The lawsuit also names Natasha Bertrand, a Politico reporter and an MSNBC contributor, as well as Politico owner Robert Allbritton. The allegations, which center on what the president was told about the situation in Ukraine, go to the heart of the case for impeachment. This is going to get very messy.
From Fox News:
“While Politico is the nominal target of the suit, it represents an aggressive attempt by a presidential aide to put Adam Schiff’s handling of the impeachment inquiry itself on trial. Describing the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee as “a demagogue with an ax to grind against the president,” Patel portrays Schiff as running roughshod over rules and interviewing witnesses “to create click-bait headlines and soundbites to feed to his co-conspirators and media sympathizers.”
“The suit stems from Bertrand’s Oct. 23 story, headlined “T Protege Fed Ukraine Info to Trump.” Patel previously worked for Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, spearheading the Intel Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, before joining the White House in February.
“The Politico piece said Patel “was among those passing negative information about Ukraine to President Donald Trump earlier this year, fueling the president’s belief that Ukraine was brimming with corruption and interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats.”
“Patel was “so involved in the issue,” the story said, that “at one point Trump thought he was in charge of Ukraine policy for the National Security Council.” This was attributed to closed-door House testimony by Fiona Hill,” a former NSC official. What’s more, Politico said, “Patel’s involvement demonstrates that the president had at least some support for the scheme from within the NSC” — the scheme being to pressure Ukraine into investigations that would help Trump politically.
“In fact, Patel’s suit says, “at no time” before Oct. 30 “had Kash ever communicated with the president on any matters involving Ukraine. Kash never supplied any Ukraine ‘materials’ to the president.”
“Schiff is a major target. The suit, which includes its share of Trumpian language, says the defendants “acted in concert” with the congressman or his aides to further the impeachment probe. The alleged purpose was to “destroy Kash’s reputation” as a lawyer and presidential aide to further “Schiff’s baseless Ukrainian quid pro quo hoax.”
“Patel issued a public denial earlier this month, saying a number of media outlets “have falsely reported that…I have communicated with President Trump regarding Ukraine.”
“The backdrop for the lawsuit is the leaks by committee staff of the closed-door testimony of Hill, who had been the NSC’s top Russia expert, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, another NSC official.
“A second story by Bertrand, on Oct. 30, quoted sources as saying Vindman told lawmakers that Patel “‘misrepresented’ himself” to Trump “in an effort to involve himself further in Ukraine policy, according to two people familiar with his closed-door deposition.” The piece 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. This, Politico said, highlighted “the unusual steps top NSC officials were taking as early as May to avoid angering or annoying the president on Ukraine issues,” and “feeding Trump’s belief that Ukraine was brimming with corruption and had interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats.”
“The lawsuit contends — and this is certain to be contested — that 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.”
“Vindman’s testimony shows he had no firsthand knowledge of Patel’s actions beyond what Hill told him, according to the suit, and said Patel was held “in high regard.”
“Patel essentially argues that Hill and Vindman offered no direct evidence to show he briefed the president on Ukraine. Politico could counter that it was fairly reporting on congressional testimony, except that the stories were based on leaked accounts, not the actual transcripts.
“Patel burst into the news last year during the committee’s Russia probe. The New York Times cited sources in saying he was the primary author of a controversial memo, released by Nunes over the objections of the FBI and intelligence community, that accused federal officials of bias against Trump.
“The suit describes Patel as a “private individual,” a key point since the bar for a successful libel suit is much higher if, as a White House official, he is deemed a public figure.”
Yikes. I can’t say I blame Patel for suing here. This could irreparably harm his career plus it’s got Schiff’s fingerprints all over it. He claims that Adam Schiff (D-CA) “acted in concert” with Politico to leak allegedly false information from the impeachment inquiry as part of a “scheme” to advance the “inquisition” against President Trump. And I am certain that is exactly what happened here… thus an explosive defamation suit.
Patel is demanding a trial by jury which would be very high-profile and damaging to both Politico and Schiff. I hope he gets his wish.
“The significance of this lawsuit’s filing is that Bertrand’s Politico story on Patel came based off of testimony provided behind closed doors to the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry by Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman. They both alleged, incorrectly, in their testimony that Patel had secret meetings with President Trump on Ukraine matters and provided the president with documents on Ukraine. But as Breitbart News has already reported, while these Democrat impeachment witnesses Hill and Vindman may have testified in Schiff’s private impeachment inquiry to that effect, it was not accurate. Patel has since publicly confirmed he has never spoken with the president about Ukraine.
“Politico’s decision to print the false testimony of Hill and Vindman as fact, which Patel’s lawsuit makes clear was in close coordination with Schiff and his team on Capitol Hill, could seriously cost the media outlet. Other media outlets that printed the inaccuracies could also end up on the chopping block as well, but for now Patel is focused on Politico with this lawsuit.
“The timing of the lawsuit’s filing is also important in that both Vindman and Hill will be testifying in public hearings this week as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump.”
It’s about time someone fought back against these lying media outlets. I really hope Patel gets his $25M here. Bring on the public testimony from Vindman and Hill. They are going to get shredded.