In a way, it’s hard to take this seriously because it’s so blindly foolish. More on that in a moment.
Matt Vespa at Townhall presents it as a move by Democrats who just can’t get over it. Maybe so.
Given the extensive, vast, colossal, titanic, gargantuan downside of bringing this lawsuit, I figure the real purpose is to use every means possible to keep the media theme going, and keep Trump’s presidency turning on a spit over an open flame.
Perhaps some Democratic insiders know already that Mueller’s got nothing and isn’t going to come up with anything, so now seemed like the time to do this. My thinking would be that since the voters are getting pretty tired of it, the kickoff of primary season for the 2018 midterms is a really dumb time to try to fan these particular flames. But maybe some Democrats see this as a winner at the polls. Maybe they think the putative blue-collar, purple-state Trump defectors they’re on the hunt for will turn out in big numbers for a party that’s suing the president for winning in 2016.
I don’t see it, myself. At any rate, here is how the Washington Post summarized it in the original report:
The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.
The complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump by hacking the computer networks of the Democratic Party and disseminating stolen material found there.
“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. …
The case asserts that the Russian hacking campaign — combined with Trump associates’ contacts with Russia and the campaign’s public cheerleading of the hacks — amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election that caused serious damage to the Democratic Party.
In a civil suit, the bar would be lower to prove “illegal conspiracy” than it would be in a criminal proceeding. But even in Manhattan, it might be hard to find a jury that would agree on such a finding, based on the thin and evidence-free nature of this narrative.
Heck, in Manhattan, it may be hard to find a judge who doesn’t have to recuse him or herself, in a suit involving the plaintiff and defendants in question.
But what really makes this a foolish move is the prospect of discovery for the defendants. That DNC server that’s never been inspected by the FBI? I don’t think it’s going to be Donald Trump turning on the spit over that one. Every allegation the DNC makes, the defense will have the opportunity to impugn the source and basis of.
A case like this one could even be the exact venue in which to power-wash and air-dry the fact that the Washington Post and the IT cloud-services provider for the U.S. intelligence community are owned by the same person (Jeff Bezos).
It’s not Trump, Russia, or WikiLeaks the public will be marveling over. It will be what the court finds out about CrowdStrike, Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, Sidney Blumenthal, Perkins Coie, the DNC, Hillary Clinton, her campaign organization, Cody Shearer, a bunch of CIA, ODNI, FBI, and DOJ officials, a bunch of bank accounts, and quite possibly some other Brits (besides Steele), and a laundry list of news organizations.
Why are the Democrats setting themselves up for this? The defendants are entitled to due process. If they don’t get it, no jury award will stand up on appeal. I don’t see a federal judge egregiously denying it to them.
Bringing the suit and then dropping it, when discovery gets too painful, doesn’t seem like a winning strategy. This one is something of a head-scratcher. (If it was really necessary to sue someone, the least-dumb play seems like just suing the Russians, who would have the least sympathy from the American public. They could compel a lot less discovery, given that there are fewer allegations about them that can matter in any way in a U.S. court.)
But hey, Democrats, you do you. Go ahead and hand Trump the one thing he hasn’t had so far: the opportunity to put his accusers on defense and make them answer probing questions.