California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, who is an ardent ally of President Donald Trump, has filed a slew of lawsuits against his critics, who he’s alleged have defamed him. This week, another one of those lawsuits was thrown out — the Trump-appointed federal Judge C.J. Williams has thrown out Nunes’s defamation case against Ryan Lizza, a journalist who wrote a piece revealing that the Nunes family had moved their dairy farm operations to Iowa and were apparently using the labor of undocumented immigrants on the premises, at least at the time. Nunes’s suit also targeted Hearst Magazines, the publisher of Esquire, where Lizza’s piece about the Nunes family farm operation was published.
Another lawsuit filed by @RepDevinNunes has cratered: Trump-appointed judge tosses libel case against (my colleague) @RyanLizza over an Esquire Magazine story about Nunes' Iowa relatives. Doc: https://t.co/OTnnVRUr8C
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) August 5, 2020
Oral arguments in the case were heard in April. In his original complaint, Nunes alleged that the original article from Lizza caused Nunes to “suffer loss of standing in his professional field, insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, and mental suffering, harm to his name and reputation, out-of-pocket loss and other actual damages.” Nunes didn’t need Lizza’s help for that supposed “embarrassment.” Nunes’s relentless shilling for Trump has accomplished plenty of that embarrassment all on his own. He has gone on an innumerable slew of tirades against his political opponents, very frequently using familiarly Trumpian ridiculousness to go after them.
Nunes’s other lawsuits — whose very existence enacts the “embarrassment” that Nunes seems so antsy about — include one that originally targeted Twitter over a couple of satirical accounts on the platform that have been critical of the Congressman. Those accounts include one called “Devin Nunes’ Cow” and another that masqueraded as the Congressman’s mother. Recently, a judge removed Twitter as a defendant in that case, ruling that the company was not liable for the statements made on their platform by the individuals behind those accounts. There’s still the broader question of how Nunes expects to make it through politics as a public figure with such an insanely self-aggrandizing sensitivity to even the slightest criticism.
While Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — a position which he no longer holds — Nunes worked to steer the committee’s Russia investigation in the president’s favor. He worked, for instance, on investigating the investigators, so to speak, helping kickstart what would be a long line of Republican complaints about the origin of the investigation.