Democratic Party sues Russia, Trump, WikiLeaks over 2016 hacks

The DNC alleges the Russian government worked with the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to help the former reality star win the election.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
2 min read

The DNC is suing Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over hacks during the 2016 presidential election. 

Marguerite Reardon/CNET

The Democratic National Committee is going after Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks over cyberattacks during the 2016 US presidential election.

The 2016 race to the White House was riddled with controversies, including emails leaked after Russian hackers infiltrated the DNC's network. In a lawsuit filed Friday, the DNC alleges the Russian government worked with Donald Trump's campaign and WikiLeaks to help the former reality star win the election.

The defendants listed in the lawsuit include Guccifer 2.0, the hacker behind the dumped emails; Donald J. Trump Jr., the president's son; and Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder.  

"In the run-up to the 2016 election, Russia mounted a brazen attack on American Democracy," the lawsuit alleges. "The opening salvo was a cyberattack on the DNC, carried out on American soil."

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in New York, says Russian intelligence agents hacked the DNC's computers, infiltrated its phone systems and stole tens of thousands of documents and emails. It also alleges the Trump campaign willingly cooperated with the Russian effort, and knowingly used emails stolen in the hack. 

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment. On Twitter the president has said multiple times, including Friday morning, that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Later Friday, Trump tweeted specifically about the lawsuit: "Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats," he wrote. Trump added that it's "good news" because the defendants can now "counter" for access to the servers of the DNC and former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other documents.

The lawsuit points to a campaign moment when Trump publicly suggested Russian hackers should release Hillary Clinton's emails. It also references tweets from Trump between July 24, 2016, and Nov. 6, 2016 -- two days before the election.

"Russia's cyberattack on the DNC began only weeks after Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States in June of 2015," the lawsuit states.

The DNC said it paid more than $1 million to repair its electronics, and hire staff and consultants to address the hack. It's seeking millions in compensation for the attacks. 

WikiLeaks responded to the lawsuit in a tweet, calling the DNC "corrupt."

You can view the lawsuit here: 

First published, April 20, 9:21 a.m. PT
Updates, 11:30 a.m.:
Embeds the lawsuit; 12:08 p.m.: Adds mention of WikiLeaks tweet; 4:53 p.m.: Adds Trump's tweet about the lawsuit.

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