Last chance for Russiagate? Democrats file lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks
The suit alleges that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to hack the DNC’s computer network and publish the committee’s emails via WikiLeaks, reported the Washington Post.
“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.
The DNC is seeking financial reparations for the alleged collusion, which the committee says amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election.
While heavy on blame, the suit is conspicuously light on evidence. Special Counsel for the US Department of Justice Robert Mueller has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, despite looking for almost a year.
Claims that Trump attempted to interfere with the FBI’s investigation were also dashed this Thursday, with the release of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos of his meetings with the president. The memos showed that Trump was cooperative and wanted all allegations of collusion properly investigated. Likewise, Russian responsibility for the DNC data breach has never been established.
WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are among the defendants in the suit, as is the hacker Guccifer 2.0, who allegedly provided WikiLeaks with the trove of internal DNC emails detailing the Democrats' financial and other dealings in the run-up to the 2016 election. The whistleblowing website is being accused of serving as a tool of Russian influence, and the hacker is summarily listed as an operative of GRU, the Russian foreign military intelligence.
Trump is not named as a defendant. Rather, the Democrats are targeting key figures in the Trump team “who met with people believed to be affiliated with Russia” during the campaign.
Donald Trump Jr. is named, as is President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. Manafort and Gates were charged by Special Counsel Mueller with money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion earlier this year, but not with any kind of collusion with Russia.
Republican strategist Roger Stone is named for allegedly meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, a claim he denies.
Foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and London professor Joseph Mifsud are mentioned, as are Aras and Emin Agalarov, Russian businessmen who once held a Miss Universe beauty pageant in Moscow. As owner of the pageant, Trump attended.
The Agalarovs helped arrange a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in 2016. The suit also cites Trump traveling to the Soviet Union in 1987.
“This frivolous lawsuit is a last-ditch effort to substantiate the baseless Russian collusion allegations by a nearly-bankrupt Democratic Party still trying to counter the will of the people in the 2016 presidential election,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.
Even if the lawsuit was built on solid evidence, the DNC might find it difficult to actually sue Russia, as other nations enjoy immunity from US lawsuits.
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