Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman advises against reading American newspapers; AP sued by Russian oligarch
Associated Press story in March claimed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had pitched a plan to influence US politics to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska
Tuesday, and while we wait for the next shoe to drop via the White House, there are more attacks on the American press directly associated with the Russians. Today, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said it would be advisable not to read American newspapers.
“Guys, have you been reading American newspapers again?” Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page (in Russian). “You shouldn’t read them. You can put them to various uses, but you shouldn’t read them. Lately it’s become not only harmful, but dangerous too.”
Zakharova was reacting to The Washington Post reports of President Trump sharing classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, describing it as “yet another fake” news story. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov also dismissed the reports as “yet more nonsense.”
Yesterday, lawyers for Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska filed a lawsuit (PDF) against the Associated Press claiming that he was defamed by a March story which claimed that former campaign manager Paul Manafort had pitched a plan to influence US politics to Deripaska. The AP further said that Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract with the oligarch which began in 2006.
“The AP acted with actual malice in publishing the Article because prior to publication it knew that such statements were false, or at minimum entertained doubts about the truth of the defamatory statements contained in the article,” the lawsuit says. “In addition to the Article’s overtly false and defamatory statements, the Article is structured to imply falsely that Mr. Deripaska’s commercial dealings from the period between 2005 and 2009 were somehow related to alleged criminal conduct and improprieties related to the campaign of then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”
Deripaska issued a statement in response to the AP story in March: “There was an agreement between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort to provide investment consulting services related to business interests of Mr Deripaska which now is a subject to legal claims.” Later he demanded a retraction of the AP’s claims in the story.
The AP said that it is standing by its story, while the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, demands a trial by jury.