Chris Hayes: Chairman, why now?
Perez: Three reasons Chris. Number #1: We don’t know how long the criminal proceedings will take and we don’t want to rush that. And so, we have to file in order to preserve our rights under the civil justice system. statute of limitations, things of that nature, so we have that legal imperative.
#2: Over the course of the last year I’ve done my homework. A year ago it was clear to me that the Russians had hacked the DNC, and they did it with the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting the Democrats but we didn’t have the evidence a year ago connecting the Russians and the Trump campaign. We have that evidence now and that’s why we moved forward.
Thirdly Chris, I’m worried about the 2018 Elections. There is no accountability for what the Russians did. [He’s not wrong] And when they do things with impunity this Administration won’t hold them accountable, we’ve got to hold them accountable. That’s what the civil justice system is about, it’s about accountability, it’s about deterrence. Our Democracy is on fire and we have to preserve our Democracy, we’ve got to preserve our free and fair elections. That’s part of what this is about.
In the details of their suit the DNC alleges that Russia began hacking DNC emails and work product as soon as Donald Trump had announced his candidacy in 2015. That the Donald Trump organization chose to associate with Michael Flynn who had received $Thousands from RT, Russian state propaganda television, that they chose to work with Paul Manafort who had for decades worked for Russian oligarchs to advance the interests of Putin, that Trump associates Michael Cohen and Felix Sater had attempted to launch a Trump Tower Moscow project using a sanctioned Russian bank right in the middle of the primaries and had later attempted to broker a “peace deal” between Russia and Ukraine that would have dropped those sanctions and that when George Papadopoulos and Donald Trump Jr. were both informed that Russia had “Dirt” on Hillary Clinton including “thousand of her emails” neither of them made the slightest attempt to contact law enforcement.
Instead both of them did their level best to gain access to that information in order to exploit it for their campaign. Other Trump associates sought out contact with Russian operatives. Roger Stone reached out and maintained contact with both WIkileaks and the GRU operative known as Guccifer 2.0. and eventually revealed that he was aware of the John Podesta and Clinton Foundation hacks before any of that information had been released, and correctly predicted that Podesta’s emails would be released in sections — one batch per day — right up until election day. Paul Manafort’s partner Rick Gates was in regular contact with another GRU operative, Konstantin Kilimnik. Donald Trump Jr. was in contact with Wikileaks who offered him the password to access an anti-Trump website, and after they had asked for his father to tweet in support of the Wikileaks releases, he did exactly that just fifteen minutes later. Jared Kushner was involved in establishing a San Antonio based “Data-Hub” using information and strategies provided by Cambridge Analytica [which were developed and designed to target U.S. voters under the specifications of a Russian Oil-company, Lukoil, which had a standing cooperative agreement with Russian Intelligence.]
Donald Trump himself praised the illegally released DNC material by Wikileaks which had been criminally obtained by Russian Intelligence while continuing to deny the involvement of Russian operatives, even though their involvement had been specifically confirmed to Papadopoulos and Don Jr. [It had also been confirmed to Trump advisor Carter Page during his own trip to Moscow.] That’s either gross incompetence, near criminal negligence, total fracking lying or all three — and none of those options are good look on anyone.
Trump eventually won the Presidency and Russia rejoiced. The core of their case isn’t really any more complex than this. Russia committed a crime, they made the Trump campaign aware of that crime and their reaction wasn’t to try and stop or deter them — it was to help them, praise them and try to benefit from their crime.
These facts are not hearsay. They are not rumors. They are not a conspiracy. Several of these persons involved have already testified under oath and confirmed this information. Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Alex Van Der Zwaan have already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about various contacts and communications with Russians.
In damages the DNC alleges that their reputation was injured, that the materials stolen had a material cost in the $Millions and that personal information about DNC employees was exposed opening them to personal attack and death threats.
But material or financial accountability is clearly not what the DNC seeks here. None of the above facts are in any serious dispute. Frankly most of the people involved here have admitted what they did, and also that none of them took even the slightest step toward notifying law enforcement at any point in the process. Some how we’ve reach a point where this is just No. Big. Deal.
“Ho hum – international criminals fracking with our democracy — who cares?”
But it is a big deal, it’s an enormous deal. This is not normal and it can’t be made acceptable.
Let me put it another way.
Let’s say a bunch of foreign mobsters had broken into your house, ransacked and rummaged around the place then systemically stole personal information about you, made copies of all your private squabbles and gossip, and stole copies of materials that you had spent years collecting and developing including all your strategic plans and research.
Then they went to your professional opposition and offered them access to everything they stole from you and their answer wasn’t — “HOW DO IT GET THE FBI ON SPEED DIAL?” — it was basically “Yes, Thank You — Please — Can we have all of that and more?”
So the mobsters did that, they did exactly that — they gave them all of it and more.
And then when the COPS finally say “Hey, this mobster gang stole all this stuff” — your professional opposition, even after they’ve been in contact with the gang, and the gang itself TOLD THEM THEY DID IT — they instead say “Nah, It wasn’t them. It’s was this other gang, or maybe that gang, or maybe a 300lbs guy on his mother’s couch.”
When the head of your team [Robby Mook] first said that the Russians were involved in the DNC hack — even before any of the information had been released — the son of your main guy [Donald Trump Jr’]. who had already had nearly a half dozen mobsters fly all the way from Moscow to show up in his office offering him “dirt” on you doesn’t say, “Hey, I just had members of that gang in my office!”
Instead he said this:
TAPPER: [Mook] seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Your response?
TRUMP JR.: Well, just goes to show you their exact moral compass. They’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he won’t say, “Well, I say this,” he’ll say, “Here are experts, he has a house cat at home who once said this is what’s happening with the Russians.” It’s disgusting; it’s so phony.
Yeah, right, sure , and it’s also so true.
Junior knew it was true, because his attack on Mook is completely unjustified otherwise. Mook says “We’ve been robbed” and Junior goes “How DARE YOU say it was the mobsters I’ve been secretly talking to in my office, and through Wikileaks, and at NRA events….”
His outrage here is what was so phony. That’s what was so disgusting.
HE. FUCKING. KNEW. BETTER.
But he didn’t care. He didn’t think the American people would care either and frankly, sadly, he’s been right so far. They didn’t care that Russia was slapping their thumb onto the scale of our election. They didn’t care what they stole, they didn’t care what they lied about — which was damn near everything.
Tom Perez is exactly correct: Our Democracy IS on Fire.
Russia provided the matches and lit them, but the Trump campaign happily accepted the blaze as it grew and ever since have been throwing themselves into the path of the firefighters.
And the fire still isn’t out yet. We still don’t know that our election systems are secure. We don’t know who else Cambridge Analytica shared all their stolen personal information with and how the trolls and bots are going to come at us next because they haven’t stopped. They haven’t even slowed down, not yet.
I’m not providing an avalanche of links in this diary to prove this case. I’ve already done that literally 50 times so far. One more link storm is not going to convince people who are immune from convincing. We all already know exactly what happened. We have court filing after court filing coming from the Mueller investigation, testimony from the House and Senate Intelligence committees [even despite the House trying to Whitewash things with their half-assed, incomplete and incompetent “No collusion” report] that shows Russia tried to frack up our election and our country. They’ve also tried this in England, France and Germany over the last two years, so it’s not like they were singling us out. This is part of their overall global strategy, this is their plan worldwide.
Some of us, far too many of us simply don’t care, and that in itself is the real crime.
Tom Perez is good, well, and properly outraged by what has happened in our country. No, not the fact that Trump was elected, or the fact that Hillary Clinton lost, but HOW he was elected and how we’ve all — or most of us — have simply shrugged about it while Russia has cackled at us in glee.
The mobsters who ripped us ALL off, who robbed us and distorted our legitimate democratic process, are laughing in our face. They think we’re stupid, they think we’re pathetic and weak, and so far we haven’t been proving them wrong.
We should be fucking pissed off. We should be FUCKING LIVID.
We should have our hair on fire and be spitting nails.
Tom Perez and the DNC are reminding us of that, and it’s no god damn fucking stunt or Joke either.