During a particularly revealing interview with a local news outlet over the weekend, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) not only announced that he intends to sue more people (or newspapers, or his mom, or his cow) for defamation, but he admitted his true intention for his multi-million dollar lawsuits.
Nunes told the local CBS affiliate, KSEE24, that he will “probably” file another three to five lawsuits “soon” to address “defamation and slander” that he claims he’s been a constant victim to.
“We have probably another three to five lawsuits that we’ll be filing and it’s all about, as you know, I’ve been maliciously attacked by the media. They’ve tied me to things that are just simply straight up defamation and slander,” he said. “If you go and Google right now, you do a Google search, virtually every story is either not true or it’s based off of a previous story that wasn’t true and so the only way I can clear my name up is through the courts.”
It’s no secret that many suspect Nunes is suing Twitter, some Twitter trolls, a Republican operative and McClatchy for nearly half a billion dollars total in order to fundraise for his next reelection. Nunes barely out-raised his Democratic challenger in the midterms and faced his toughest bid yet last year. And filing a lawsuit that perpetuates a long-running far-right conspiracy theory to get some extra cash seems to be working.
Because Twitter accounts named after Nunes’ “cow” and “mom” are literally named as defendants in one of lawmaker’s suits, experts speculate that the entire ordeal is for publicity. In fact, nearly a month after Nunes sued McClatchy over a prostitution story published in the Fresno Bee, McClatchy’s lawyers had not even been served yet.
But Nunes revealed over the weekend that he may have another motive: changing defamation laws.
“Every man and woman has a right to his or her name and just because I am an elected official that doesn’t mean that any mainstream media outlet can say whatever they want about me,” he said. “So we’re going to hold them accountable and hopefully it will change the way — we’re going through a period of time in this country right now where every day political people are being slandered, almost by the second if you mention Twitter. And the only way we’re going to get that, to rein all that in is if public officials are able to sue for slander and defamation. I think it was a mistake that happened 50 years ago.”
Watch the interview below: