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West Virginia coal magnate sues Donald Trump Jr. for ‘weaponized defamation’

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Former Republican Senate candidate and coal mining magnate Don Blankenship is now suing Donald Trump Jr. in a similar complaint he’s filed against 75 news agencies for “weaponized defamation.” Blankenship claims that he lost his Republican primary election because people called him a “felon,” not as a result of the actual crimes for which he was convicted.

According to the court documents filed in Mingo County, West Virginia, Blankenship claimed that referring to him as a “felon” was part of an orchestrated campaign by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Washington “DC establishment.”

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Blankenship was found guilty of a misdemeanor for chronic safety violations in his mines, including one where an explosion killed 29 West Virginia miners.

“So too is the establishment media’s bloodthirsty desire to destroy those with whom they disagree politically. We live in an age of weaponized defamation where lies can be repeated in more ways at more times in more places with more speed than anyone could possibly have imagined even five years ago, much less 1964 when the seminal case in the areas of defamation of public figures was decided,” the court filing says.

Blankenship lost in the Republican primary in 2018 to State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, yet, somehow the Republicans involved are said to have acted in a way that would protect Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

The complaint against Trump Jr. went through seven pages before it finally came to reference him.

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“Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Mr. Blakenship was a ‘felon’ after meeting with, and as part of a scheme with, NRSC leadership seeking to prevent Mr. Blakenship’s victory in the primary.”

Trump Jr. is one of McConnell’s “surrogates,” the filing alleged.

“Mr. Blankenship is well-acquainted with the rough and tumble of politics,” the lawsuit claimed. “This is not that.”

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Oddly enough, Blankenship attacked McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch” for unfounded allegations his wife’s family is involved in a drug trafficking scheme.

McConnell has not sued Blankenship for the “weaponized defamation.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump’s mental decline compared to Reagan’s hidden Alzheimer’s in brutal MSNBC assessment

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On Saturday morning a deadly serious MSNBC panel took up Donald Trump's increasingly erratic behavior of late, which led one panelist to sincerely suggest the president needs to be evaluated by mental health officials because she believes the White House is covering for him.

Speaking with host David Gura, MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley admitted that she is no doctor, but that there are signs of the president's decline that reminded her of how Ronald Reagan's White House hid his Alzheimer's from the public.

"This is the man last week said he was the second coming, the 'chosen one,'" Wiley began. "It is very, very difficult to not have a conversation about whether or not he's competent to serve as president. I say that because there were actually objective measures this week."

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Mike Pence and Nikki Haley battled for attention at a GOP donor retreat: report

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Who will be President Donald Trump's successor as leader of the Republican Party?

It's a question that GOP officials are already asking themselves, and it is already producing subtle divides within their ranks. Two of the biggest names that get floated are Vice President Mike Pence and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Both politicians are comfortable appealing to multiple wings of the GOP, and both have managed to stay in Trump's good graces for far longer than most of the people who have worked in his administration.

They have pushed back aggressively on claims that they are challenging one another for control, with Haley aggressively denying rumors that Trump was interested in swapping her in to replace Pence on the 2020 ticket.

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2020 Election

Mass rallies, crazy decisions, grandiose posturing: This is what living in a dictatorship feels like

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Another week of shaking our heads and wondering how much longer we can survive him. Yet again, Donald Trump overwhelmed practically everything with the force of his obscene personality, running his mouth and his thumbs even while he was failing to run the country in any sort of conventional sense. He doesn’t actually do anything, but he dominates everything. Living in America today is like being trapped in a room with him — no doors, no windows, no exits, only Trump and the sound of Trump and the hideous image of Trump, all day, every day, for day after day after day.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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