Washington (AFP) – The Democratic Party filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that Russia, WikiLeaks and top officials from Donald Trump’s campaign conspired to tilt the 2016 US presidential election in the Republican’s favor.
The civil complaint filed in federal district court in Manhattan by the Democratic National Committee alleges that Russia informed Trump’s campaign that it had conducted a cyber-attack on the DNC, leading to the release of information damaging to Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.
It says a close Trump advisor, Roger Stone, appeared to have “advance knowledge” of plans by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks to disseminate some of the harmful information — as part of what the suits alleges was a wide-ranging illegal conspiracy to influence the election.
“The Trump campaign and its agents gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” according to the 66-page complaint.
The lawsuit targets Trump’s campaign, his son Donald Trump Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and numerous campaign officials including Paul Manafort, as well as the Russian government including its foreign military intelligence agency known as GRU, and WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
“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.”
The Democratic move comes at a time of legal turmoil for the president, marked by a raid on the offices of his personal lawyer, and the release of a tell-all book by James Comey which alleges Trump was obsessed with the Russia meddling probe when he sacked the former FBI chief.
Special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators are probing possible Trump associate links to what US intelligence has concluded was a sweeping effort to tilt the 2016 vote in Trump’s favor.
Trump has consistently rejected charges that he or his campaign colluded in any way with Russia — tweeting earlier this week about “the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems).”