Apr 22, 2018, 1:46 PM ET

DNC suing Trump and Russia because US has 'not imposed sufficient costs" on Moscow for election meddling: Perez

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The chairman of the Democratic National Committee said the party’s civil lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russia aims to deter Moscow from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.

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“We have to deter misconduct,” Tom Perez told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday. “We've got elections coming up in November. It's hard to win elections when you have interference in elections. And they've done it with impunity. And I'm concerned that it's going to happen again.”

PHOTO: Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, listens during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, Jan. 31, 2018.Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, listens during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, Jan. 31, 2018.

The Democratic National Committee filed a sweeping lawsuit in federal court Friday alleging collusion between Russians and Trump campaign operatives in the 2016 election and naming the Russian government, the Trump campaign, Trump family members, WikiLeaks and others.

The suit claims a wide-ranging “Russia-Trump conspiracy” and is based on the same anti-racketeering statutes that have been used against underworld criminals.

Stephanopoulos asked Perez if he is concerned that the suit might interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates.

The Democratic chairman responded, "No. I worked at the Justice Department for over a dozen years under Republican and Democratic administrations."

The criminal justice system, which Mueller is working within, operates separately from the civil justice side that handles lawsuits such as that filed by the DNC, Perez said.

Perez added that when he was helping to investigate police misconduct claims in the Justice Department, civil suits on the same case would "invariably" be filed. "We were always able to work out protocols so that we wouldn't interfere, the civil suit wouldn't interfere with the criminal probe."

The DNC's lawsuit seeks "justice and to expose the truth in the civil justice system because ... we have not imposed sufficient costs on Russia for what they tried to do to the election," Perez said. "We know why. This government didn't impose sufficient costs because they were conspiring with the government of Russia."

The Trump campaign in a statement Friday called the lawsuit “frivolous” and a “last-ditch effort” to validate the “baseless” claim that Trump conspired with the Kremlin.

“This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional, and nearly insolvent Democratic Party,” said Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump listens during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trumps private Mar-a-Lago club, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Donald Trump listens during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Stephanopoulos on "This Week" asked Perez about criticism from David Axelrod, a fellow Democrat who worked as chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. Axelrod tweeted Friday night that the DNC suit was "spectacularly ill-timed" and would support Trump's portrayal of the federal Russia investigation as "a partisan vendetta."

Perez responded, “We've done our homework."

"Over the course of the last year, we have seen story after story, brick after brick in the conspiracy between the Russians and the Trump campaign to affect the outcome of the election,” the DNC chief said. "We have a strong case. That's why we brought it.”

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  • SouthernCT

    The counter suit and discovery process will be painful for all involved.

  • aprinterslife

    “This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a
    desperate, dysfunctional, and nearly insolvent Democratic Party,” said
    Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager.

    Well, see you in 2020 and then we will see who eats those words.

  • Guomino

    Another desperate Democrat stretch

    ...since Trump & the GOP have done more to punish Russia than Obama ever did.

  • Curmudgathrope

    all of these lawsuits just look like 'Mommy' suits. You know the ones... "Mommy - Steven did it while he was sleeping". We have a lock on the inane.

  • JDC1

    The crux of this is the idea that Trump made a deal with Putin to get elected. Trump didn’t want to win. Melania even cried afterward because she was so distraught. This was supposed to be a publicity stunt. He literally had no plan for the day after the election. He figured he’d take a vacation. Why would he make a deal with Putin to win an election he had no interest in winning? Ppl are gonna crucify me for saying that, but it’s the truth. The only hope is that he resigns, because I don’t see impeachment coming.

  • BannedSimplyForPosting230

    The Russians made me vote for Trump!

  • bob bobberson

    I think Perez might need to see a doctor for his delusions. Exactly what FACTUAL evidence has been presented "brick by brick" to show collusion between Trump and Russia? Zero. It is why Mueller has only hit Trump's campaign with unrelated issues to try and magically flip them to get Trump because he has nothing showing collusion.

  • YouMayBanMeButYouCan'tBanIdeas

    Can this lawsuit be deferred until after the articles of impeachment are drafted? It is not clear exactly what the penalty phase will entail, and I believe limited resources should instead be allocated towards more clear-cut objectives.

  • grace

    Could these foolish attorneys lose their license over frivolous lawsuits? I’m asking for a friend.

  • samLion

    I used to be a stalwart dem, but after the reign of Wasserman Schultz and Brazile I'm never coming back. Glad they're no where near the Whitehouse.

  • Banned Squirrel

    So is the DNC chairman going to sue the DNC for using fake intel from a foreign agent in an attempt to sway the election?

  • SarahBeth2

    Yeah.....contributors will send money to the DNC to sue Trump instead of electing candidates or ,,,,will they?

  • John Springer

    It is nothing but a political ploy that only undermines his own country to further his agenda.

  • Guomino

    Perez is an embarrassment, which is why he was instantly qualified to lead the DNC.

  • Phil

    The only group that should be sued is the DNC & their politicians, because as I see it, the Democrats ran the WH when this all started. It was brought to their attention & they did nothing. So be it.