Former President Donald Trump is setting his sights on the Pulitzer Prize Board, escalating his demands for the group to rescind its prizes for the 2018 coverage of the Russia investigation.

Trump cited recent legal proceedings in special counsel John Durham's investigation to argue Pulitzer-winning reporting by the New York Times and the Washington Post was "a distortion of fact and a personal defamation," and he threatened to take the organization to court if it declined to revoke its award for that reporting.


"There is no dispute that the Pulitzer Board's award to those media outlets was based on false and fabricated information that they published," Trump wrote in a letter to Pulitzer Administrator Marjorie Miller, dated Friday and released by his campaign PAC on Tuesday. "The continuing publication and recognition of the prizes on the Board's website is a distortion of fact and a personal defamation that will result in the filing of litigation if the Board cannot be persuaded to do the right thing on its own."

In 2018, the staff of both news outlets received the highly acclaimed Pulitzer award for "relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign." A representative for the Pulitzer Prize Board confirmed to the Washington Examiner that it received Trump's letter but declined to comment further.

Since the 2018 Pulitzer was awarded, new details have emerged about the origins of the allegations made against the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Durham has been tasked with investigating the origins and conduct of the inquiry into Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia. Trump used recent revelations to argue the media had "promulgated disgustingly false attacks against me."

"There was never any truth to the Clinton campaign's shameful smears, as the New York Times and the Washington Post would have quickly discovered had they done even a modicum of journalistic investigation," he said. "We gain more and more clarity with each passing day about the propaganda and falsehoods that were pushed by the Clintons and their willing accomplices in the media about the 'collusion' that never existed between me, my campaign, my administration, and the Russian government."

Trump began clamoring for the Pulitzers to be revoked last October, arguing the reporting was incorrect or misleading. He also called for the revocation last November. His most recent renewed call comes during the trial of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann, whom Durham accused of lying to the FBI in regards to his clients, including Clinton's campaign, when sharing since-discredited Trump-Russia claims to the agency. Trump referenced Sussmann in his letter.

"Mr. Sussman is being prosecuted for lying to the FBI regarding false information purporting to show connections between me and Alfa-Bank in Russia, as well as tying about approaching the FBI as a concerned citizen and hiding the fact that he was doing the bidding of the Clinton Campaign and Hillary Clinton herself," he said.


Trump recommended Miller “pay close attention to the testimony at Mr. Sussman’s trial” in his letter, which was dated May 27. Sussmann was found not guilty of the charge against him in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Tuesday.

The former president did not give an exact timeline for when he might sue the board, simply saying, "If you choose to not do so, we will see you in court."