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Trump sues CNN for defamation

Former President Donald Trump is suing CNN for defamation and asking for compensatory damages in excess of $75,000 and punitive damages of $475 million, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

He is claiming that the cable news giant has harmed his reputation with "false, defamatory, and inflammatory mischaracterizations of him" and that CNN's conduct "is intended to interfere with [his] political career."

In particular, Trump argues that he's entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages because of CNN's use of the term the "Big Lie" to describe Trump's "stated concerns about the integrity of the election process for the 2020 presidential election." Trump's lawyers say that the "Big Lie" "is a direct reference to a tactic employed by Adolf Hitler and appearing in Hitler's "Mein Kampf." 

"'If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,'" Trump's lawyers stated, noting it was used by Hitler to generate hatred against Jews and to justify their genocide. 

The lawsuit says, "CNN's campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against the [Trump] has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears [he] will run for president in 2024."

Trump also vowed in a statement Monday evening, "In the coming weeks and months we will also be filing lawsuits against a large number of other Fake News Media Companies for their lies, defamation, and wrongdoing, including as it pertains to 'The Big Lie,' that they used so often in reference to their disinformation attack on Presidential Election of 2020."

The former president has been claiming since November 2020 that the election was rigged, despite dozens of lawsuits and recounts that found it was not. He is being investigated by Congress and the government for trying to overturn the election results, and two years later, he still claims that he won the 2020 election.

CNN had no comment.

The case has been assigned to Trump-appointed Judge Raaj Singhal, in the Southern District of Florida.

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

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