Former US president Donald Trump filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party leaders and others alleging they falsely accused him of colluding with Russia ahead of the 2016 election.
“In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton and her cohorts orchestrated an unthinkable plot –- one that shocks the conscience and is an affront to this nation’s democracy,” the complaint filed in a federal court in Florida said.
“Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty,” it said. “They worked together with a single, self-serving purpose: to vilify Donald J. Trump.”
“The actions taken in furtherance of their scheme — falsifying evidence, deceiving law enforcement, and exploiting access to highly-sensitive data sources — are so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison,” the complaint added.
Besides Clinton, other named defendants include the Democratic National Committee, John Podesta, who served as chairman of Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and former FBI director James Comey.
Also named as a defendant was Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who produced a dossier ahead of the election containing allegedly compromising information about Trump.
Trump repeatedly denounced the Steele dossier as “fake” and The New York Times determined there was no corroborating evidence to support many of its claims.
A Russian analyst who contributed to the dossier has been indicted in the United States for lying to FBI agents investigating some of its findings.
Also named as defendants were the Perkins Coie law firm, which was working for the Clinton campaign, and Fusion GPS, a private firm which Perkins Coie hired to do opposition research.
Trump is seeking a jury trial and at least $72 million in damages.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and revealed multiple meetings between Trump advisers and Russians.
But Mueller stopped short of saying that the Trump campaign had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia, leading Trump to proclaim that there was “no collusion.”
A report released by a Republican-led Senate panel also revealed multiple contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials but it did not affirm there was a conspiracy either.
The Senate report found that one of Trump’s former campaign managers, Paul Manafort, had a long-standing relationship with Konstantin Kilimnik, an alleged Russian intelligence officer, and had passed on internal campaign information to him.