It irks me how many government officials fail to understand the law (or, at least, make statements that are legally absurd). Today, Devin Nunes says he will sue CNN for defamation. Why? Because CNN reported that a lawyer for Lev Parnas said Parnas knows something about some meetings Nunes scheduled with former Ukrainian prosecutors (and Parnas is willing to testify before Congress).
What’s the requirement for a defamation case? (1) False statement and (2) malicious intent. If Nunes said he intended to sue Parnas, that would be reasonable — still have to prove that the statement was false and uttered with malicious intent, but at least Parnas could have made a maliciously false statement. But a defamation suit against CNN would be an assertion that CNN made up a conversation with Parnas’ lawyers and did so maliciously to harm Nunes.
I’m certain Nunes statement was dramatization — and a way to avoid answering when asked if he did have involvement with the whole Ukraine fiasco. But someone who is responsible for writing laws shouldn’t demonstrate such ignorance of those laws.