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A Manhattan judge on Friday tossed a defamation lawsuit against CNN brought by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in 2019.

The state of play: U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain threw out the suit, which sought $435 million in damages, because Nunes "failed to request a retraction in a timely fashion or adequately state his claims," AP writes.

  • The judge cited a technicality, finding that California law applied to the case and Nunes had failed to request a retraction as is mandatory under state law. The congressman's attorney claimed the laws of Virginia or Washington, D.C., should apply, but the judge ruled that it made more sense to use the laws of Nunes’ home state.

What she's saying: "The California Civil Code limits a defamation plaintiff's recovery to special damage unless the plaintiff makes a specific written demand for a retraction within a short period of time," the judge wrote.

  • "The notice and demand must be served within 20 days after knowledge of the publication or broadcast of the statements claimed to be libelous."
  • "The AC, which was filed over two months after the original release of the Ward Article and the Cuomo Prime Time interview, does not allege that any written request was served upon CNN, much less a request that identified the statements that Nunes may have considered defamatory."
  • Additionally, "the AC does not plead plausibly that Plaintiff suffered any special damages and thus fails to state a defamation claim upon which relief may be granted."

Context: Nunes' lawsuit said that CNN purposefully released a false report that claimed the California Republican — who was chair of the House Intelligence Committee at the time — met with Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2018 to collect possibly damaging information on President Biden.

  • CNN said Vicky Ward, the author of the report, was using testimony by Lev Parnas, a businessman who worked with Rudy Giuliani, and that it was not reporting on the accuracy of Parnas' testimony but rather on what it alleged.
  • The network's attorneys added that Nunes declined to comment for the story prior to its publication and instead "waited until it appeared and then filed this suit seeking more than $435 million in damages — labeling CNN ‘the mother of fake news,'" per AP.

Go deeper

By the numbers: Census to show first decline of white population

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation's non-Hispanic white population, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Why it matters: The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a majority-minority population — with the racial and ethnic diversity most apparent in younger cohorts. "This really is moving in a direction that’s going to favor the issues and the political agendas of these younger people," Frey told Axios.

Democrats plot filibuster workarounds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several Democratic lawmakers are moving away from calls to eliminate the filibuster while privately discussing alternatives to bypass it, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: These talks have ramped up in earnest following the Republicans’ move Tuesday to block a measure to protect and expand voting rights.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure's remaining potholes

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

President Biden declared victory in announcing the bipartisan infrastructure package. Now comes the hard part: negotiating with his own party on the separate reconciliation bill.

Why it matters: By trying to simultaneously pass two massive spending bills, Biden and congressional leaders are attempting a legislative feat that will likely require Congress to work through its August recess — and potentially well into the fall, according to lawmakers and senior staffers.