Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Wp Company LLC

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, : INC., : : Plaintiff, : Civil Action No.: 20-626 (RC) : v. : Re Document No.: 12 : WP COMPANY LLC, d/b/a THE : WASHINGTON POST, : : Defendant. : MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS I. INTRODUCTION In this defamation action, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (the “Trump Campaign”) alleges that WP Company LLC d/b/a/ The Washington Post (the “Post”) defamed it in two Post articles published in 2019. Now before the Court is the Post’s motion to dismiss. Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (“Mot.”), ECF No. 12. For the reasons described below, the Court agrees with the Post that the Complaint fails to state a claim. Accordingly, it will grant the Post’s motion but dismiss the Complaint without prejudice. II. BACKGROUND The two Post articles at issue were both published in June 2019 in the Post’s online opinion section, “The Plum Line.” See Greg Sargent, Trump just invited another Russian attack. Mitch McConnel is making one more likely., Wash. Post (June 13, 2019, 9:25 AM), attack-mitch-mcconnell-is-making-one-more-likely/ [hereinafter “Sargent Article”]; Paul Waldman, Trump: I can win reelection with just my base, Wash. Post (June 20, 2019, 12:36 PM), base/ [hereinafter “Waldman Article”].1 As relevant here, the Sargent Article discusses special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigatory report (the “Mueller Report”) into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election: Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation concluded that Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack involved massive cybertheft aimed at one major U.S. political party and disinformation warfare designed to divide the country along racial and social lines. Mueller also concluded that Trump and/or his campaign eagerly encouraged, tried to conspire with, and happily profited off of those efforts. Yet Mueller did not find sufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy. Sargent Article at 4 (underlines in original). The word “concluded” in this passage hyperlinks to the publicly available Mueller Report. See N.Y. Times, Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index, N.Y. Times (Apr. 18, 2019), [hereinafter “Mueller Report”]. The words “also concluded” in the passage hyperlink to an article in The Atlantic that discusses the Mueller Report. See Benjamin Wittes, Five Things I Learned From the Mueller Report, The Atlantic (Apr. 29, 2019), 1 The Post appended all five documents discussed in this Opinion in its motion to dismiss. See Ex. A to Mot. (Sargent Article), ECF No. 12-1; Ex. B to Mot. (Waldman Article), ECF No. 12-2; Ex. C to Mot. (Mueller Report), ECF No. 12-3; Ex. D to Mot. (Wittes Article), ECF No. 12-4; Ex. E to Mot. (ABC Interview), ECF No. 12-5. For ease of reference, the Court will cite to each exhibit’s ECF pagination when discussing these documents. The Court will consider the Sargent and Waldman Articles and the Mueller Report because they are incorporated by reference in the Complaint. See Farah v. Esquire Mag., 736 F.3d 528, 534 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The …

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