The Democratic Party on Friday sued President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian government and the Wikileaks group, claiming a broad illegal conspiracy to help Trump win the 2016 election.
The multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court says that “In the Trump campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort” to mount “a brazen attack on American Democracy,” which included Russian infiltration of the Democratic Party computer network.
The Trump campaign, according to the lawsuit, “gleefully welcomed Russia’s help.”
The common purpose of the scheme, according to the Democratic National Committee, was to “bolster Trump and denigrate the Democratic Party nominee,” Hillary Clinton, while boosting the candidacy of Trump, “whose policies would benefit the Kremlin.”
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the party’s suit “is not partisan, it’s patriotic.”
“If the occupant of the Oval Office won’t protect our democracy, Democrats will. It is our obligation to the American people,” Perez said.
He called the alleged conspiracy “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.”
The DNC in 1972 had sued President Richard Nixon’s election committee in connection with the break-in at the party’s headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington by burglars connected to the committee. The Nixon campaign settled that suit for $750,000 on the same day that Nixon resigned in disgrace in August 1974 as a result of his efforts to cover-up White House ties to the Watergate burglars.
The White House and the Trump campaign had no immediate comment on the new DNC lawsuit.
The named defendants in the lawsuit include Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, former campaign chief Paul Manafort and campaign official Richard Gates, and Trump ally Roger Stone.
Also named is the Russian Federation, the general staff of the Russian armed forces, a Russian intelligence services hacker known as Guccifer 2.0., Wikileaks and its leader Julian Assange, and 10 unidentified people.
The suit says Russia is not entitled to sovereign immunity from the action, because the claims stem from Russia’s “trespass on to the DNC’s private [computer] servers” to steal information.
The DNC said that while it would be impossible “to fully repair the harm caused by the defendants, the DNC has filed this civil complaint … to hold the defendants accountable for their misconduct and to ensure transparency.”
The suit says that the Trump campaign solicited Russia’s illegal assistance and maintained secret communications with people linked to the Russian government, including a spy agency tasked with attacking the DNC.