NEW YORK—One day after a federal judge dismissed the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Russia-collusion lawsuit against his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump on July 31 pointed to an ongoing inquiry by the Justice Department into the origins of what he called “the greatest political scam in the history of our country.”
Judge John Koeltl, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, on July 30 dismissed all of the DNC’s claims against the Trump campaign and other defendants in the case. The judge also declined a motion to sanction the DNC for maintaining the lawsuit even after special counsel Robert Mueller found insufficient evidence to establish that the campaign colluded with Russia.
“Such a great victory in court yesterday on the Russian Hoax, the greatest political scam in the history of our Country. TREASON! Hopefully, the Attorney Generel [sic] of the United States, and all of those working with him, will find out, in great detail, what happened. NEVER AGAIN!!!!” Trump wrote on Twitter on July 31.
Such a great victory in court yesterday on the Russian Hoax, the greatest political scam in the history of our Country. TREASON! Hopefully, the Attorney Generel of the United States, and all of those working with him, will find out, in great detail, what happened. NEVER AGAIN!!!!
Trump wrote the message exactly three years after the FBI launched an investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign. The probe, codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane,” was riddled with abnormalities and is currently the subject of two high-profile investigations.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is preparing a report on the actions taken by Obama administration officials to secure a warrant to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney John Durham, at the direction of Attorney General William Barr, is investigating broader allegations of spying on the Trump campaign, including at least two spies who targeted campaign associates.
The DNC filed the lawsuit in April 2018 and had amended its complaint twice since then. The committee alleged that the Trump campaign, several Trump associates, WikiLeaks, and other parties conspired with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Lawyers for the Trump campaign and other defendants moved to dismiss the lawsuit on March 4. The campaign argued in a subsequent filing that the DNC lawsuit relied on allegations that were disproved by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.
The DNC opposed the dismissal, arguing that Mueller merely found insufficient evidence to start a criminal proceeding and that a civil lawsuit has a lower bar to clear in order to substantiate claims. The committee also alleged that various meetings between Trump campaign staff and people allegedly connected to Russia count as circumstantial evidence that the campaign conspired with Russia to steal DNC emails and publish them.
In a ruling on the matter issued in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Koeltl wrote that the DNC’s allegation is “entirely divorced from the facts actually alleged” in the committee’s own complaint. The judge pointed out that while the DNC alleged that the conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign began in March 2016, the committee’s complaint contains no credible allegations of a conspiracy to steal and disseminate DNC emails.
“The DNC has alleged that the Russia Federation hacked into its computer systems and stole its materials. However, the DNC has failed to allege plausibly that any of the other defendants participated in the hack or theft,” Koeltl wrote in the 80-page decision (pdf).
Koeltl dismissed the charges against Russia since a foreign government cannot be sued in a federal court, and the charges against WikiLeaks because the organization is protected by the First Amendment.
The former special counsel’s Russia investigation, which hung over the Trump administration for 22 months, was often dismissed by the president as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” designed to thwart his candidacy and hamstring his administration. In addition to finding no evidence of collusion, Mueller made no recommendation on obstruction of justice charges. Barr reviewed the obstruction evidence and concluded that it was insufficient to bring charges.
In testimony before two House of Representatives committees on July 24, Mueller stayed within the bounds of his final report, giving Democrats little to work with to advance their inquiries of the president. The former special counsel also refused to answer questions by Republicans about the origins of the investigation and the many abnormalities in the way it was conducted. Trump’s allies hailed the testimony as a win for Trump. The dismissal of the DNC lawsuit is another victory as the president seeks re-election in 2020.
“Like the Mueller fiasco, the dismissal of the DNC lawsuit is yet another huge win for the president,” Jason Meister, a Trump campaign advisory board member, told The Epoch Times. “The endless investigations of President Trump are just an attempt to distract from the true crimes that were committed.”