Trump Reacts After Judge Dismisses DNC Lawsuit Accusing His Campaign of Interfering in 2016 Elections

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 30, 2019Politics
Trump Reacts After Judge Dismisses DNC Lawsuit Accusing His Campaign of Interfering in 2016 Elections
President Donald Trump speaks prior to signing HR 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th victim compensation fund, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 29, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump celebrated a judge dismissing the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) lawsuit accusing his campaign, Russia, and Wikileaks of interfering in the 2016 election.

“The primary wrongdoer in this alleged criminal enterprise is undoubtably the Russian Federation, the first named defendant in the case and the entity that surreptitiously and illegally hacked into the DNC’s computers and thereafter disseminated the results of its theft,” wrote U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, who was appointed by former president Bill Clinton, on Tuesday, July 30 in the ruling.

But Koeltl said the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act prevented Russia from being held accountable for the server hack, such as it being sued.

And the people the DNC accused of circulating emails stolen from it, including Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos, were protected from liability by the U.S. Constitution, the judge said.

“While there are no plausible allegations that the remaining defendants participated in the unlawful hacking or in the dissemination of the materials by Wikileaks, the DNC alleges that the dissemination of those materials furthered the prospects of the Trump Campaign and that the remaining defendants ‘welcomed’ the assistance in various ways,” Koeltl noted.

He later wrote in the 81-page opinion: “The First Amendment prevents such liability in the same way it would preclude liability for press outlets that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained so long as the disseminator did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place.”

Koeltl said that the Pentagon Papers laid down a precedent. If he charged Wikileaks as an accomplice, it “would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a co-conspirator in the theft,” he wrote.

Trump celebrated the ruling, writing on Twitter late Tuesday: “Wow! A federal Judge in the Southern District of N.Y. completely dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against our historic 2016 campaign for President.”

“The Judge said the DNC case was ‘entirely divorced’ from the facts, yet another total & complete vindication & exoneration from the Russian, WikiLeaks and every other form of HOAX perpetrated by the DNC, Radical Democrats, and others,” he added.

“This is really big ‘stuff’ especially coming from a highly respected judge who was appointed by President Clinton. The Witch Hunt Ends!”

In a statement, Wikileaks wrote: “The DNC’s lawsuit against WikiLeaks has been dismissed, with the judge noting that the publication of the DNC emails ‘is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.'”

Papadopoulos said in a statement that he appreciated his lawyers’ work on the “nonsensical DNC case.”

“One more step to ending this witch hunt and going on offense to take on the deep state head on! Big win for America today!” he added.

While Wikileaks spread the emails in question, the person or persons who gave them to Wikileaks has never been pinpointed for certain. The DNC has claimed it was Russia but hasn’t provided evidence to the public, relying on an analysis from the CrowdStrike firm. The FBI said it was not allowed to examine the committee’s servers.

The DNC has not commented on the suit.