The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Donald Trump Jr., several prominent Russian figures, the Russian government itself, WikiLeaks, and a host of other defendants, NPR News is reporting.
In the 66-page lawsuit, which you can read in its entirety, the DNC alleges that the defendants conspired to launch “a brazen attack on American democracy” that ultimately – and illegally – cost the Democrats the 2016 election.
“In the Trump campaign, Russia found a willing and active partner in this effort.”
Who Are The Defendants?
The suit names 16 separate defendants: the Russian government; the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces; a Russian operative code-named “Guccifer 2.0;” Russians Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov; Joseph Mifsud; Wikileaks; Wikileaks founder Julian Assange; the Trump campaign (Donald Trump for President, Inc.); Donald Trump Jr.; Paul Manafort; Roger Stone; Jared Kushner; George Papadopoulos; Richard Gates; and “John Does 1-10.”
Donald Trump himself is not named in the suit.
What Did They Supposedly Do?
The suit alleges that beginning with a “cyberattack” on the DNC in 2015, Russian officials came into possession of documents that were then disseminated by Wikileaks and Assange. Then, when the Trump campaign was made aware, agents within the campaign welcomed the interference and used it to subvert the 2016 election.
DNC files lawsuit against Russian government, WikiLeaks and Trump campaign, and its associates, arguing that the parties conspired to influence the 2016 presidential campaign: https://t.co/houc8Lalwt pic.twitter.com/SEzvS9EqK5
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 20, 2018
Further, the suit alleges that some DNC staffers were maliciously threatened by persons unknown.
“On July 23, 2016, multiple DNC employees received an email stating: ‘I hope all your children get raped and murdered. I hope your family knows nothing but suffering, torture, and death.'”
What Does This Have To Do With The Ongoing Russia Investigation?
This is a civil complaint, not a criminal one, so in terms of potential criminal prosecution of persons named in the suit – absolutely nothing.
However, as ABC News notes, the lawsuit essentially mirrors the case for collusion that FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is currently trying to put together.
What Does The DNC Want Out Of This?
Several things. First, they want “unspecified monetary damages” that will be determined in court and will include any “monetary gain” accrued by the defendants as a result of the alleged hacking. Second, they want a legal declaration that the defendants did engage in criminal behavior. Third, the suit seeks an injunction and restraining orders against the defendants using any other information or materials they gained in the hack. Finally, they seek attorneys’ fees and any other monies or damages the court deems appropriate.
Will The Lawsuit Go Anywhere?
Probably not. Between the ongoing special counsel investigation and the difficulties in suing a foreign government, says NPR News, the suit is little more than a platitude. However, one thing that could come out of it would be the potentially embarrassing testimony and depositions from Trump staffers, which the DNC could theoretically use as ammunition in the 2018 midterms and 2020 election.
As of this writing, Donald Trump himself has not responded to the lawsuit.