DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over alleged election interference
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is suing the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, alleging that the three entities conspired to help President Trump win the 2016 election.
By hacking and publishing the committee’s emails, multiple individuals and groups were part of a larger conspiracy to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Trump win the election, DNC’s lawsuit alleges.
“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.
“This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency.”
In the complaint filed in federal district court in Manhattan, the DNC claims that the “illegal conspiracy inflicted profound damage” on their organization, impacting their campaign work, scaring away donors, causing over a million dollars in damages and inspiring personal attacks against their employees.
“The timing and selective release of the stolen materials was designed to and had the effect of driving a wedge between the DNC and Democratic voters. The release of stolen materials also impaired the DNC’s ability to support Democratic candidates in the general election,” the suit reads.
“While no suit can ever fully redress the harm that the illegal conduct exacted, the DNC brings this lawsuit to seek the full measure of relied under the laws of the United States.”
The Washington Post first reported on the DNC’s lawsuit, which seeks millions of dollars in damages.
The Trump campaign on Friday blasted the lawsuit, calling it a “desperate” attempt by Democrats to curry favor with their donors after losing funding.
“This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional, and nearly insolvent Democratic Party,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement.
“With the Democrats’ conspiracy theories against the President’s campaign evaporating as quickly as the failing DNC’s fundraising, they’ve sunk to a new low to raise money, especially among small donors who have abandoned them,” he added, while promising to aggressively work to uncover examples of DNC corruption if the lawsuit is not immediately dismissed.
The lawsuit names several Trump campaign aides as defendants who met with Russian nationals during the campaign, including Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump campaign adviser Richard Gates, both of whom have since been charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling. Gates is cooperating with the special counsel while Manafort is battling the charges against him in court.
The DNC lawsuit also names Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner and Trump confidante Roger Stone as some of the people who were part of the alleged conspiracy.
The lawsuit lists 12 laws that the accused parties allegedly violated, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications Act, as well as D.C.’s ‘Trespass’ law.
Suing a foreign government may pose a challenge for the campaign organization because most other countries are immune from U.S. lawsuits.
The organization, however, argues that Russia cannot be protected by sovereign immunity in this case because the Kremlin trespassed “on to the DNC’s private servers …in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”
Throughout the lengthy 66 page suit, the DNC lays out a series of events, news reports and public comments that it argues is proof of the conspiracy, like Trump Jr.’s secret communication with WikiLeaks as well as Trump’s public praise of the group.
The suit comes months after Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for carrying out “information warfare” as well as other sophisticated measures to sow discord during the 2016 presidential election.The special counsel has yet to charge anyone for the DNC hacking, though it is reportedly under investigation.
Trump has repeatedly denied that there was any collusion or coordination with Moscow, calling the federal probe a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.”
– This story was updated at 5:15 p.m.
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