A senior White House official is suing a political opinion website over its coverage of the impeachment circus. Kash Patel wants over $25 million in damages from Politico for false accusations the site has made against him — but it isn’t just about the money. On the surface, this suit is about libel committed by journalists. Dig deeper and it’s an ingenious attempt to put the impeachment process itself on trial.
Kash Patel is senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. He’s an aide and adviser to the president, and as well as his main role in counterterrorism, he gets involved in a range of foreign policy and national security issues. One of those issues was, allegedly, Ukraine.
- On October 23, Politico ran a story slamming Patel’s role in dealing with Ukraine. According to writer Natasha Bertrand, an MSNBC journalist who moonlights for Politico, 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.”
- Of course, Ukraine is brimming with corruption — something the current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is very keen to change. That’s one reason he’s discussed corruption with President Trump.
- Bertrand’s article went on to claim that Patel was so deeply involved in Ukraine that “at one point Trump thought he was in charge of Ukraine policy for the National Security Council.”
- This isn’t what Patel says. Earlier this month he was forced to publicly deny media reports that he’s influenced the president on Ukraine. Now his lawsuit, filed in Virginia, states that “at no time” has he been involved in President Trump’s negotiations with Ukraine.
- Patel names Bertrand and Politico owner Robert Allbritton as the responsible parties for damaging his reputation with these allegations — but the real villain of the piece is lead impeachment enthusiast, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA).
- According to Patel, Bertrand and Allbritton were working together with Schiff to destroy Patel’s reputation and make Schiff’s “baseless Ukrainian quid pro quo hoax” seem more credible.
- Politico has strongly condemned the lawsuit, calling it “high on bombast and low on merit.” However, Patel is adamant that both his and the president’s reputation have been damaged by Politico’s reporting, and if a court finds in his favor, that’s going to be a major blow to the impeachment process.
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