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DNC sues Russia, Trump ‘co-conspirators’ over 2016 election meddling

A lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee alleges that people close to President Trump and Russian entities conspired to spread documents that were stolen from the DNC to bolster the Trump campaign. The Democratic Party set off a similar legal battle after the Watergate break-in. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has handed over the "Comey memos" to Congress. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The claim that President Trump stole the 2016 election is going to federal court.

    A Democratic Party lawsuit today alleges a conspiracy and seeks civil damages. It comes as the president is also doing battle with former FBI Director James Comey.

    Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The list of defendants in the Democratic National Committee's multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit reads like a who's-who of Trump associates.

    The president himself is not among them, but the DNC is suing the Trump campaign, the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., the president's son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, longtime associate Roger Stone, and the indicted former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

    It also includes WikiLeaks, and the site's founder, Julian Assange. Russia, and the country's main military intelligence unit, the GRU, sit at the top of the list of defendants. The DNC's central allegation? That people close to President Trump and Russian entities conspired to spread documents that were stolen from the DNC, and bolster then candidate Trump's presidential bid.

    Russia and its co-conspirators, the lawsuit says — quote — "must answer for these actions."

    The Democratic Party set off a similar legal battle decades ago, after the Watergate break-in. Back then, the DNC sued President Nixon's reelection campaign for damages. The party ultimately won a $750,000 settlement on the same day that Mr. Nixon resigned.

    There was also continued attention today on the Comey memos, James Comey's first-hand accounts of his interactions with President Trump while he was still director of the FBI. There are seven memos in all, 15 pages total.

    Thursday, after pressure from some Republican lawmakers, the Justice Department handed over the notes to Congress. They detail discussions Comey had with the president and White House aides about his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as well as the president's fixation on the so-called Steele dossier. Comey had publicly discussed some of what's in the memos previously.

  • James Comey:

    Sure. I created records after conversations, and I think I did it after each of our nine conversations. If I didn't, I did it for nearly all of them, especially the ones that were substantive.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Trump today lashed out at Comey again.

    "Flynn's life can be totally destroyed," he lamented, "while shady James Comey can leak and lie. Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work?"

    Meanwhile, three House GOP committee chairmen argued that Mr. Trump would benefit from the memos being released. "Rather than making a criminal case for obstruction, these memos would be defense exhibit A."

    Congressional Democrats disagreed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the memos proved Mr. Trump's — quote — "contempt for the rule of law."

    For the PBS NewsHour, I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Late today, the Trump campaign responded to the lawsuit, calling it frivolous and completely without merit. We will hear from the chair of the Democratic National Committee right after the news summary.

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