CLOSINGS: View Closings

Democrats file suit alleging Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks conspired to interfere in 2016 campaign

The Democratic National Committee is suing the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and several r...

Posted: Apr 21, 2018 1:17 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2018 1:17 PM

The Democratic National Committee is suing the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and several relatives and associates of President Donald Trump alleging a grand conspiracy that harmed Democrats through WikiLeaks' publication of internal party emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The 66-page lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday lays out how the Trumps allegedly curried favor in Russia through their family business, and then Russians allegedly used those connections before the presidential election to disseminate the spoils from a cyberattack on the DNC.

"In the Trump campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort" to disrupt the presidential election, the Democratic committee alleges.

Judge John G. Koeltl, a Clinton appointee, will preside over the case.

Trump's campaign called the lawsuit" frivolous" and characterized it as "a last-ditch effort to substantiate the baseless Russian collusion allegations" by a party "still trying to counter the will of the people in the 2016 presidential election."

"This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional, and nearly insolvent Democratic Party," campaign manager Brad Parscale said. "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. "

A DNC official acknowledged Friday that the lawsuit alleges no new evidence of cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russians. But the filing strings the publicly available information about the Trump orbit's contact with Russians into a single narrative. The official said that hadn't been done yet, and time was running out for the party's ability to bring the suit.

The Democratic Party alleges the conspiracy and the hacking hurt their relationship with voters, chilled donations, disrupted their political convention and subjected their staffers to harassment. The lawsuit outlines nearly every known communication between Trump advisers and Russians.

In all, it alleges a dozen crimes, from racketeering and conspiracy to wiretapping and trade secrets violations.

DNC officials say they believe their lawsuit could recoup substantial monetary damages.

In addition to millions of dollars in damages related to the hack and other claims, the DNC is asking for an injunction that would stop any of the defendants from using material gained through the hack, and for a statement from the defendants admitting to the alleged conspiracy.

The party also could seek to interview some of the defendants under oath, as well as others with knowledge who aren't parties in the suit, and then make their findings public if the court allows it. Currently, two conspicuous names that aren't defendants in the suit are former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the President himself.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a nearly year-long cybersecurity strengthening effort which was the initial internal DNC response to the hack -- for fortifying their systems and processes.

"We are not going to just stand by and let Russia hack the DNC," said one official. "We are the victims."

In addition to the Russian Federation, the lawsuit names several top Trump advisers who attended the now-infamous June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower that aimed to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton, such as Donald Trump Jr., campaign chairman Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner; Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov and his pop-singer son Emin; Manafort deputy Rick Gates; the Russian operative called Guccifer 2.0 who hacked the DNC; longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone; former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos; a Russia-connected professor he communicated with named Joseph Mifsud; and Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

"Roger Stone did not conspire, collude, or do any action to subvert the electoral process," Robert Buschel, Stone's lawyer, said Friday. "Sadly, these meritless lawsuits against Roger Stone is not an effective form of therapy for loss the DNC suffered in 2016."

The Democrats' narrative in the filing begins with Trump's announcement that he would run for president in 2015, the same year the New York tycoon indicated an interest in developing property in Moscow.

"As Trump moved closer to securing the nomination, the ties between his campaign and Russia's government grew substantially," the lawsuit alleges. It notes a trip to Russia by Flynn, meetings Papadopoulos held that discussed "dirt" Russians allegedly had on Clinton, the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting organized on the promise that Russia could help Trump's campaign, private communications that Trump Jr. and Stone had with WikiLeaks, and Manafort's connections in Eastern Europe.

Parscale predicted the lawsuit would be dismissed. But if it goes forward, "the DNC has created an opportunity for us to take aggressive discovery into their claims of 'damages' and uncover their acts of corruption for the American people," he said.

In the summer of 2016, the Democratic National Committee went public with claims that Russian hackers had gained access to their computer systems, obtaining emails and opposition research against Trump.

Days before the Democratic National Convention, when Clinton was set to receive the party's presidential nomination, WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of hacked DNC emails.

The release of the emails, which included messages disparaging Bernie Sanders, threw the Democratic Party into turmoil at a moment when the party was supposed to be coming together in support of a nominee, and intensified infighting between supporters of Clinton and Sanders.

"The Democratic National Committee was the first major target of the Russian attack on our democracy, and I strongly believe that every individual who helped carry it out -- foreign or domestic -- should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC at the time of the hack, said in a statement Friday.

Probing the contours

Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year to investigate the same contours that the Democrats allege. As part of that mandate, Mueller is empowered to investigate any links between the Russian government and Trump campaign associates and bring criminal prosecutions.

So far, Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Flynn have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about their interactions with Russians. Manafort has pleaded not guilty in charges related to his lobbying work for Ukrainian politicians before he joined the Trump campaign. Mueller's office has indicated they're interested in Manafort's links to Russians while he served on the campaign, though Manafort has not been charged for his actions in 2016.

Flynn, Papadopoulos and Gates have agreed to help the federal authorities with their investigation. Mueller has also charged 13 Russians for using fraudulent accounts on social media to influence the election. Mueller has not yet brought charges related to the DNC hack.

The US intelligence community has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered "an influence campaign" in 2016 with the goal of undermining public confidence in the US democratic process and eroding Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the presidency.

Trump, however, has repeatedly insisted that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, and has denounced the special counsel investigation as a "witch hunt."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
Rochester
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 19°
Mason City
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 23°
Albert Lea
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 22°
Austin
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 22°
Charles City
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 19°
Colder Conditions To Start The Workweek
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Kindness tree on display in Rochester

Image

Advice for safe holiday decorating

Image

Aaron's Sunday Night Forecast

Image

Active shooter police standoff resolved after 9 hours

Image

Standoff in Albert Lea after 3 people shot

Image

Christmas tree shopping

Image

MC 'grateful' to play, adjusting with schedule changes

Image

Small business Saturday

Image

Sean's Weather 11/28

Image

Sidelined in quarantine: Coach Fennelly talks about his experience away from the game

Community Events