The Democrat National Committee announced on Friday a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Trump presidential campaign, the Russian national government, and the WikiLeaks organization.
In the suit, the DNC alleges the three entities conspired to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.
“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, per the Hill.
“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,” Perez added.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 20, 2018
Per Washington Post:
The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.
The case asserts that the Russian hacking campaign — combined with Trump associates’ contacts with Russia and the campaign’s public cheerleading of the hacks — amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election that caused serious damage to the Democratic Party.
Senate investigators and prosecutors for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are still investigating whether Trump associates coordinated with the Russian efforts. Last month, House Intelligence Committee Republicans said they found no evidence that President Trump and his affiliates colluded with Russian officials to sway the election or that the Kremlin sought to help him — a conclusion rejected by the panel’s Democrats.
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The president has repeatedly rejected any collusion or improper activity by his campaign. This week, he referred again in a tweet to the “phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems).”
According to the report, the DNC’s efforts in suing a foreign country could pose several legal challenges as, per international law, foreign countries “have immunity from most U.S. lawsuits.”
JUST IN: Democratic National Committee files lawsuit against Russia, Trump campaign and Wikileaks, and others “for their brazen attack on our democracy, including the DNC hack and dissemination of stolen documents.” https://t.co/uXFTVuh8lQ pic.twitter.com/GlaSf00iPP
— ABC News (@ABC) April 20, 2018
The lawsuit argues that Russia is not entitled to sovereign immunity in this case because “the DNC claims arise out of Russia’s trespass on to the DNC’s private servers…in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”
The lawsuit echoes a similar legal tactic that the Democratic Party used during the Watergate scandal. In 1972, the DNC filed suit against then President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.
The suit was denounced at the time by Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, who called it a case of “sheer demagoguery” by the DNC. But the civil action brought by former DNC chair Lawrence F. O’Brien was ultimately successful, yielding a $750,000 settlement from the Nixon campaign that was reached on the day in 1974 that Nixon left office.
The suit filed Friday seeks millions of dollars in compensation to offset damage it claims the party suffered from the hacks. The DNC argues that the cyberattack undermined its ability to communicate with voters, collect donations and operate effectively as its employees faced personal harassment and, in some cases, death threats.
NEW: DNC files federal lawsuit against Russia, Trump campaign and more, alleging they were part of a broad attempt to undermine the 2016 election. https://t.co/ZD90vLT4Np
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 20, 2018