NEW YORK (AP) — The Democratic National Committee on Friday sued President Donald Trump’s campaign, Trump’s son, his son-in-law, the Russian Federation and WikiLeaks, saying they conspired to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election by breaking into DNC computers and stealing tens of thousands of emails and documents.
The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court sought unspecified damages and an order to prevent further interference with DNC computer systems.
“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. He called it an “act of unprecedented treachery.”
The lawsuit said Trump and his associates had existing relationships with Russia and Russian oligarchs that enabled creation of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.
Trump has said repeatedly that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.
The lawsuit alleges the “brazen attack on American democracy” began with a cyberattack on DNC computers and phone systems, allowing the extraction of tens of thousands of documents and emails. It said the assault enabled Russia to advance its own interests and support Trump.
The lawsuit accuses Donald Trump Jr. of secretly communicating with WikiLeaks, saying the president’s son was offered a password to an anti-Trump lawsuit in one exchange. The lawsuit blames the president too, saying he praised the illegal dissemination of DNC documents throughout fall 2016, making it a central theme of his speeches and rallies.
The lawsuit said Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was part of the conspiracy as a senior adviser and key decision-makers in the campaign. It said he began in June 2016 to control all campaign data-driven efforts, beginning with establishment of a 100-person “data hub” in San Antonio, Texas, and by hiring Cambridge Analytica, the social media and analytics firm.
The lawsuit said the conspiracy “inflicted profound damage upon the DNC,” costing it donations and preventing it from communicating the party’s values and vision to voters and sowing discord inside the Democratic party.
“The conspiracy constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery: the campaign of the presidential nominee of a major party in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency,” the lawsuit said. “And, in carrying out this effort, defendants’ conspiracy to disseminate documents stolen from the DNC in violation of the laws of the United States as well as the laws of the state of Virginia and the District of Columbia. Under the laws of this nation, Russia and its co-conspirators must answer for these actions.”