Defendants in the Democratic National Committee’s far-reaching lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Wikileaks and Russia have gone on the offensive, saying the case presents more of an opportunity than a threat.
On Friday, the DNC filed suit alleging an illegal conspiracy between the Trump campaign, Wikileaks and Russia during the 2016 election. The DNC’s court filing alleges that the Trump campaign was a “willing and active partner” in Russia’s attempt to subvert American democratic processes.
The lawsuit does not name President Donald Trump himself as a defendant. It does, however, include his campaign, his longtime confidant and surrogate, Roger Stone, and even his family members.
A number of the stakeholders in the case are now threatening to use the lawsuit as leverage to glean undisclosed records from the Democrats.
In a letter responding to the suit, Stone’s attorney demanded that the DNC “immediately preserve the DNC’s database servers and electronic equipment in both Washington, D.C., Virginia, and wherever else redundant servers and equipment exist,” for “future review, discovery, and testing.”
“We intend to test the basic underlying claims that ‘Russians’ hacked, stole, and disseminated DNC data,” Stone’s lawyer added, “Rather than the various other plausible scenarios, including internal theft.”
Stone, in an email to CNBC, called the lawsuit a “left-wing conspiracy” that “strings together events they find suspicious based on partisan worldview but has NO proof of hacking never mind anything else.”
Stone has previously defended the hacker who took credit for the DNC breach, who is known as Guccifer 2.0. In the email, Stone also said that the suit opens the Democrats up “to discovery” — a procedure allowing both sides of a legal dispute to obtain evidence from one another.
“My lawyers and I want to examine the DNC servers to settle this bogus claim of Russian hacking once and for all,” Stone added in a follow-up email.
Wikileaks, in a brief statement on Twitter Friday, made the same point: “Discovery is going to be amazing fun,” said the anti-secrecy group, which has been accused of acting as a cut-out for the Kremlin.
The statement was retweeted by Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The Trump campaign also threatened to “leverage the discovery process and explore the DNC’s now-secret records” if the lawsuit moves forward.
The campaign specified its interest in matters including the infamous dossier from intelligence gathering firm Fusion GPS, which made salacious and unverified claims about Trump’s connection to Russia. The Trump campaign also said it would seek records about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, and what it called collusion between the DNC and the media during the campaign.
“While this lawsuit is frivolous and will be dismissed, if the case goes forward, the DNC has created an opportunity for us to take aggressive discovery into their claims of ‘damages’ and uncover their acts of corruption for the American people,” said Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, in the Friday statement.
Even Trump, who is not a party in the suit, echoed the same aggressive stance against the lawsuit as Stone and Wikileaks. In a pair of tweets, Trump called the action “good News” insofar as it provides an opening to gain more information about his political opponents.
The lawsuit alleges that Russia hacked the DNC’s email servers, then used the information “to advance its own interests: destabilizing the U.S. political environment, denigrating Democratic presidential nominee, and supporting the campaign of Donald J. Trump.”
The DNC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Source : CNBC