BuzzFeed is suing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to get the committee to turn over information related to the so-called Steele dossier in an effort to bolster its defense in a lawsuit related to the dossier.
The news outlet is facing a lawsuit from Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman who claims he was libeled when the news outlet published the dossier last year.
The document, funded partly by the DNC and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPennsylvania GOP authorizes subpoenas in election probe We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE’s presidential campaign, contains explosive and in some cases unverified allegations about President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE’s ties to Russia.
BuzzFeed is arguing that the DNC has information that could link Gubarev to the 2016 Russian hack into the committee's servers, which would undermine his libel complaint.
“As part of the discovery process, BuzzFeed is attempting to verify claims in the dossier that relate to the hacking of the DNC — which, the dossier alleges, was done with the support of Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman," BuzzFeed News spokesman Matt Mittenthal told The Hill in a statement.
"We’re asking a federal court to force the DNC to follow the law and allow BuzzFeed to fully defend its First Amendment rights.”
According to Vanity Fair, which was the first news outlet to report on the lawsuit, the DNC is arguing that providing such information could make it vulnerable to another cyberattack.
BuzzFeed was the first outlet to publish the dossier a year ago.
News of BuzzFeed’s legal complaint comes a day after Foreign Policy reported that the news outlet has hired a former FBI and cybersecurity official to verify allegations contained in the Steele dossier.
The document has been a source of controversy, and recently re-entered the spotlight as part of a Republican-crafted memo alleging bias within the Justice Department.
The document accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Last month, Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, sued BuzzFeed News for defamation over the publication of the dossier. BuzzFeed has stood by its decision, arguing the dossier was of significant public interest.