DOJ rejects Buzzfeed's claim that dirty dossier is a government document

Washington Times:
The Justice Department has rejected BuzzFeed’s argument in a pending libel lawsuit that its posting of the discredited Trump-Russia dossier and an accompanying story is protected speech.

In a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., three Justice Department attorneys rebutted the news website’s stance it enjoys “fair reporting privilege” because the dossier was part of an FBI investigation.

The Justice Department’s declaration says that BuzzFeed’s Jan. 10 posting never cited any such probe and the dossier itself is not a government document.

BuzzFeed faces a separate, dossier-linked libel suit in Florida. The D.C. case involves BuzzFeed’s request for a judge to compel testimony from the FBI and possibly the national intelligence directorate on how they handled the dossier and what was told to President Trump.

The website’s aim is to prove that its dossier posting was part of accepted journalism practices when reporting on government investigations.

The Justice Department filing accuses BuzzFeed of a “gross mischaracterization” of its own dossier story.

“Although the Article states that BuzzFeed decided to publish the so-called Dossier to provide readers an opportunity to ‘make up their own mind’ about its explosive but unverified allegations, BuzzFeed now contends in its motion to compel that the Article is nothing more than a report on official government proceedings,” the Justice lawyers wrote.

“Even a cursory review of the Article — which consists of less than 500 words of text and an embedded 35-page document — reveals that it does not actually ‘report’ that the Dossier has been the subject of official government activity,” the Justice lawyers added.
This suggests that the DOJ is not planning on using the document as evidence, even though they might have used it to get a FIS warrant.  It looks like another blow to the Democrats theory about the dossier.


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