Today Donald Trump sued the perpetrators of the Russia collusion hoax in the federal court for the Southern District of Florida. The Complaint is here. Trump sued the whole cast of characters: Hillary R. Clinton, HFACC, Inc., the Democratic National Committee, DNC Services Corporation, Perkins Coie, LLC, Michael Sussmann, Marc Elias, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Charles Halliday Dolan, Jr., Jake Sullivan, John Podesta, Robert E. Mook, Phillipe Reines, Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., Christopher Steele, Igor Danchenko, Neustar, Inc., Rodney Joffe, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith, Andrew McCabe, and a number of John Does.
From a quick review of the Complaint, which is 108 pages long, it does a good job of summarizing the story that most people know pretty well by now. I was mostly interested in three aspects of the Complaint: the venue, the causes of action, and Trump’s lawyers.
The venue, South Florida, should be favorable to Trump, depending on the luck of the judge draw.
As for causes of action, these defendants obviously wronged Trump in a variety of ways, but there are serious questions about what claims he should assert. In fact, the Complaint includes various claims, each of which is asserted against a subset of the defendants. Some of the causes of action are accompanied by separate conspiracy counts. The principal counts include RICO, a cause of action I am not crazy about; “injurious falsehood,” i.e. defamation; malicious prosecution; violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; theft of trade secrets; violation of the Stored Communications Act; “agency,” against Hillary Clinton; and a number of vicarious liability counts. The Complaint alleges that the defendants’ wrongful conduct is ongoing, and requests money damages.
Is there a winning theory in there somewhere? The defamation count best captures the nature of the defendants’ conspiracy. I’m guessing most of the others won’t go far.
What I was most curious to see, is who is representing Trump. Trump has poor taste in lawyers, and in any event I doubt that any major law firm would represent him in a case of this sort, either because of law firms’ commitment to leftism or from fear of the vicious attacks that liberals would unleash. Trump has local counsel in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and it appears that his principal firm will be Habba Madaio & Associates, which has at most five lawyers and is located in New Jersey. The Habba firm represents Trump in his lawsuit against his niece Mary and the New York Times. The firm does not have a big-time litigation practice.
I don’t want to impugn lawyers whom I have never met, and I appreciate the Habba firm’s courage in being willing to represent Trump. But there is no possible way they have the resources to prosecute this case successfully. They sued 29 individuals and companies; I don’t know how many will actually hire counsel, but Trump’s lawyers will be massively outnumbered and outgunned. Much as I would love to see Trump win this case, it is hard to foresee a happy ending.
The worst outcome, of course, is that the lawsuit fails and its failure is taken to imply that there never was a Russia collusion hoax or conspiracy. It could be much like the hopeless litigation that Trump and others undertook after the 2020 election. Those cases never could have succeeded, but their failure–rarely or never on the merits–has widely been taken to discredit claims of voter fraud, some of which were undoubtedly meritorious.
In principle I applaud Trump for going after the people who conspired against him for years and ultimately did bring him down, but I think the charge of the Light Brigade had better odds of success.