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Trump Threatens to Sue Pulitzer Committee After They Refused to Rescind NYT, WaPo Awards For 'Russiagate' Coverage

Former President Donald Trump has threatened to sue the Pulitzer Committee for defamation after they refused to revoke awards handed out for reporting on “Russian collusion” in the 2016 election.

Trump sent a letter to the board in 2021 asking that they rescind the Washington Post and New York Times’ joint 2018 National Reporting prize for “Russiagate.”

The letter made the case that Michael Sussmann, a lawyer who worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, was indicted in special counsel John Durham’s investigation and allegedly lied to the FBI in 2016 when he reported a “possible link” between Trump’s campaign and a bank that has ties to the Russian government.

“I call on the Pulitzer Prize Board to immediately rescind the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting awarded to the staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post, which was based on false reporting of a non-existent link between the Kremlin and the Trump Campaign. As has been widely publicized, the coverage was no more than a politically motivated farce which attempted to spin a false narrative that my campaign supposedly colluded with Russia despite a complete lack of evidence underpinning this allegation.”

On July 18, 2022, the board released a statement explaining that they will not be rescinding the awards. The committee claimed that the reporting was not “discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes.”

Pulitzer Board Rejects Trump’s Request That They Rescind NYT, WaPo Awards For ‘Russiagate’ Coverage

“These inquiries prompted the Pulitzer Board to commission two independent reviews of the work submitted by those organizations to our National Reporting competition,” the board wrote. “Both reviews were conducted by individuals with no connection to the institutions whose work was under examination, nor any connection to each other. The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes.”

The statement concluded, “the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes in National Reporting stand.”

On Thursday, lawyers representing the former president sent a letter to Marjorie Miller, administrator of the Pulitzer Prize board, demanding that the board’s claim that the reports were not discredited be retracted.

“Be advised that the Board, including its individual members, may be subject to suit and exposed to a judgment for damages, including punitive damages, for defamation,” the letter asserts.

The letter continued to say that it “places the Board on notice that the Defamatory Statement must be removed from the Board’s website within five (5) days of receipt of this letter, and a full and fair correction, apology, or retraction issued. Under the circumstances, rescinding the 2018 Pulitzer Prizes in National Reporting from their current recipients would necessarily be part of any full and fair attempt to right the wrong caused by the Board’s conduct.”

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