Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) has filed a lawsuit against MSNBC in which he claimed that the “spiteful” host Rachel Maddow repeatedly smeared him on air by accusing him of treason and obstruction of justice.
In his suit, Nunes claimed that both Maddow and MSNBC have shown “hostility, hatred, extreme bias, spite and ill-will” in their coverage of him, according to The New York Post. He added that he is being targeted because he has become known for being one of “the most prominent skeptic in Congress of Maddow’s marquee news narrative from 2017 to 2019: that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 presidential elections.”
Nunes specifically mentioned comments that Maddow made back in March, when she claimed that he had refused to hand a package he’d received from a suspected Russian agent to the FBI. Nunes has denied this.
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“Congressman Nunes has refused to answer questions about what he received from Andriy Derkach. He has refused to show the contents of the package to other members of the intelligence community,” Maddow said at the time, according to the lawsuit. “He has refused to hand it over to the FBI which is what you should do if you get something from somebody who is sanctioned by the US as a Russian agent.”
Nunes alleged that Maddow and her network were aware that he had told other reporters that he had given the package to the FBI. He claimed that MSNBC did not go to him for comment prior to airing the claims, which Nunes claims is proof of malice.
The Republican argued that Maddow’s on-air statements falsely accuse him of treason and obstruction of justice, adding that they were “republished millions of times on the Internet and via social media” after she tweeted them.
“How do Republicans keep Devin Nunes on as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee given his unexplained interactions with Andriy Derkach?” Maddow had tweeted at the time.
Nunes is pushing for unspecified damages for what he claimed is an “insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering and injury to his reputation.”