The Democratic National Committee has filed a law suit against the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, and the Russian government, alleging a conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 election.
The far-reaching suit also names Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, and Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov as defendants, among others.
The suit alleges that the Trump campaign was a “willing and active partner” in the Russian effort to attack American democracy.
The lawsuit asserts that the Trump campaign “maintained secret communications with individuals tied to the Russian government, including one of the intelligence agencies responsible for hacking the DNC.”
The DNC accuses the Trump campaign of “unimaginable treachery.”
The lawsuit seeks damages for computer fraud, conspiracy, trespass, and other statutory violations.
The lawsuit largely recounts publicly known facts about the Trump campaign’s activities but provides new details about the precise timing of the Russian hack of DNC servers. It notes that just four days after Russian intelligence started siphoning data off of DNC servers, a professor with links to the Russian government information a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopolous that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary.
The Washington Post notes there is some precedent for the DNC’s tactic. The DNC filed a lawsuit in 1972 “against then President Richard Nixon’s reelection committee seeking $1 million in damages for the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.”
There are some 25 total people and entities named in Friday’s lawsuit, ranging from the Russian government and WikiLeaks to Stone and Julian Assange. All of the people and entities, over the past two years, have played their own, interconnected roles in the unfurling revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian hacking, and communiques with both WikiLeaks and Russian operatives.
For those following the saga, many of the names are unsurprising. For instance, the lawsuit identifies both Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch, and his son, Emin, each of whom were instrumental in setting up a June 2016 meeting with Trump, Jr., Kushner, and Manafort, the latter of whom was then Trump’s campaign chief. That meeting, which Trump Jr. believed would provide information on Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign — an idea Trump Jr. memorably said he “loved” — ended up primarily discussing Russia’s ban on allowing Americans to adopt Russian children, a ban put in place following the implementation of the U.S.’s Magnitsky Act.
Both Agalarovs were also instrumental in partnering with the Trump Organization to bring the 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. The Trump Organization has previously passed along documents to the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Agalarovs, according to CNN.
One of the new pieces of information in the lawsuit, which describes in detail the alleged conspiracy between the defendants, deals with the timeline involving the DNC hack and Joseph Mifsud, the professor who informed Papadopoulos — then one of Trump’s foreign policy advisors — that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton. Per the lawsuit, Russian hackers exfiltrated emails from the DNC on April 22, 2016 — only four days before Mifsud spoke with Papadopoulos about Russian “dirt” on Clinton. Both Mifsud and Papadopoulos are named in the lawsuit.
Many of those named in the lawsuit have also been charged by Mueller’s office, including Manafort and Rick Gates, Manafort’s erstwhile partner. In February, Gates pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but a few weeks ago Mueller’s office also accused Gates of “directly communicating” with a “former Russian Intelligence Officer.”
Perhaps the most surprising defendant in the lawsuit is the Russian Federation itself, in that lawsuits against foreign countries rarely succeed on account of other countries’ immunity from most U.S. lawsuits. The DNC, however, alleges that Russia is “not entitled to sovereign immunity because the DNC’s claims arise out of Russia’s trespass onto the DNC’s private servers.” According to the DNC, Russia also “committed the trespass in order to steal trade secrets and commit economic espionage.”
Likewise, the lawsuit targets 10 unidentified Russian intelligence “officers or agencies,” identified as John Doe 1-10. The lawsuit claims that these ten “participated in the conspiracy” to hack the emails and servers, as well as circulate the stolen emails.
Interestingly, the lawsuit does not name all of the key players within the convoluted ties between Trump, his campaign, and Russian officials and cut-outs. Not only is the president not named, but neither is his daughter, Ivanka. Nor is Rob Goldstone or Natalia Veselnitskaya, both of whom were instrumental in organizing the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner. And curiously, Felix Sater, who is mentioned in the lawsuit, is not listed as a defendant — despite the fact that Sater once wrote to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that he would get “Putin on this programme and we will get Donald elected.”
This is a breaking news post and will be updated.