The Democratic National Committee has pulled the trigger and filed a massive lawsuit alleging that Russia, WikiLeaks, and the Donald Trump campaign all conspired to disrupt the 2016 election and cause Donald Trump to become the President of the United States.
The Washington Post broke the story this morning.
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.
“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.
“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,” he said.
The lawsuit has been filed against Russia, but also names WikiLeaks and key Trump campaign aides – including Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr., and Paul Manafort – of participating in the conspiracy. They are not, however, naming Trump as a conspirator here.
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.
The Post article acknowledges that there are complications with filing such a suit against a foreign government, but the lawsuit claims that Russia’s and WikiLeak’s part in the conspiracy constitutes trespassing on private property – in this case, inside DNC computers.
It’s certainly an odd case, but one that bears watching. Keep in mind that the lawsuit overlaps with the time that Democrats are laying out their campaign strategies for November’s midterm elections and trying to keep voter enthusiasm alive.