>> An act of previously unimaginable treachery, that's how the Democratic party is painting Donald Trump's presidential campaign in a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy with Russia to win the 2016 election. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where the Democrats have opened up a new front in the ongoing battle of the 2016 elections.
In a 66 page lawsuit, the Democratic National Committee is alleging that the Trump campaign broke the law by helping to distribute emails and other internal party documents that had been hacked by the Russians. This coming on top of congressional probes and an ongoing criminal investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Now, these accusations aren't new, but they do create yet another legal headache for President Trump, at a time where he's already struggling to mount a defense. The DNC bases the suit on one core assertion, that Trump's campaign staff should have gone to the FBI when they were approached by Russian agents who had hacked DNC emails.
Instead, the DNC says, they helped to make that information public in a way that hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. The DNC says that the leaks damaged its ability to raise money and unite the party and exposed their employees to abuse and death threats. All of these adding up they say to a criminal conspiracy, the campaign of the presidential nominee of the major party in league with a hostile foreign power.
The suit, filed in Federal Court in Manhattan, names a long list of defendants. Not only the Trump campaign but also the Russian government, Russian oligarchs, Wikileaks, and Trump associates like Roger Stone and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Some of these defendants, like former campaign aides Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos have already entered guilty pleas in Mueller's investigation.
One name left off the list, Donald Trump himself. Legal experts are debating how far the DNC will get with this lawsuit. But if they clear the initial hurdles, they could force defendants to hand over internal documents that could shed some light on whether collusion took place. President Trump and his Republicans would love to put this whole issue behind them as the 2018 midterm elections approach.
This lawsuit is yet one more way in which the whole Russia question is remaining in the spotlight.