(Headline USA) When former President Donald Trump last week filed suit accusing his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party of conspiring to sink his winning presidential campaign by alleging ties to Russia, it wasn’t a surprise.
Trump’s latest lawsuit revisits a familiar grievance: that Democrats in 2016 concocted fictitious claims that his campaign was colluding with Russia and that the FBI as a result pursued an “unfounded” investigation.
Six years since he was first made the target of FBI operatives during the Obama administration, court filings by Special Counsel John Durham have brought the American public closer to the truth in a far-reaching leftists plot to undermine their Republican rival.
But as Trump noted at a rally Saturday in Commerce, Ga., it was just his luck to draw a judge appointed by former President Bill Clinton, likely putting hopes of legal remedy out of reach yet again.
The 108-page suit names as defendants Clinton and her aides, as well as former FBI Director James Comey and Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI officials who exchanged critical text messages about Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Trump, in the suit, alleges a vast, racketeering conspiracy in which FBI officials who led the investigation knew that it was “based on a false and contrived premise.”
“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,” his lawyers wrote, describing the alleged scheme as “so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison.”
Former special counsel Robert Mueller, who was charged with further investigating the links between Trump and Russia, did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, but concluded that Russian interference was “sweeping and systematic.”
His investigation resulted in criminal charges against 34 people and three entities, including 26 Russians, Trump’s former campaign chair and national security adviser.
But charges against many of those tied directly to Trump—including former national security adviser Michael Flynn—were also shown to have been filed under false pretenses as part of a perjury trap.
Trump attorney Alina Habba defended his approach on Newsmax, telling the network more suits were coming soon.
“We have another suit being filed shortly,” she said. “And anybody that’s going to try and make up malicious stories about him while he was sitting as president, prior to his presidency or now is going to be sued.”
Trump, meanwhile, was already using the filing to rile up his crowds at the rally in Georgia Saturday night.
“To fight back against this corrupt establishment’s relentless hoaxes and lies, this week I filed a historic lawsuit to hold them accountable for the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax,” Trump said to cheers.
His mention of Clinton prompted especially loud applause and a revival of the “Lock her up!” chant that was a defining feature of his 2016 campaign.
Trump’s effort, which comes as he is mulling another run for the White House, could lend the imprimatur of credibility to campaign trail grievances, said Stephen Gillers, a New York University professor of legal ethics.
“To the unaware public, the fact that grievances are repackaged as legal claims adds credibility to the force of those grievances,” Gillers said.
Last year, Trump took similar action, filing suits against three of the country’s biggest tech companies, claiming he and other conservatives had been wrongfully censored after his accounts were suspended.
“Trump’s perception and that of many people is that the first person to sue has a legitimate complaint,” claimed Barbara Res, a former longtime Trump Organization executive turned critic.
Trump learned his attack dog legal tactics from one his early legal advisers, the late Roy Cohn, who made his name as a prosecutor in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg communist spying case, then as aide to Sen. Joe McCarthy.
Under Cohn, Trump countersued the Justice Department after it brought a case against the Trump Organization in the early 1970s for housing discrimination. The Trump Organization eventually settled, admitting no guilt.
In the years that followed, the casework never let up.
A USA Today investigation found Trump had been involved in at least 3,500 court cases over the course of three decades—more than five other top U.S. real estate owners combined. In more than half of the cases, Trump was the one who had sued.
That experience, while valuable, proved futile in the stolen 2020 election, during which judges not wanting to get their hands dirty repeatedly dismissed his case on technicalities such as lack of standing.
But even if Trump’s efforts couldn’t salvage the election, his tenacity may yet pay off in forcing more cases to cast light on what corrupt Democrats did under shroud of darkness.
Trump had made clear his intentions even before all the votes had been counted.
“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said during a 2:30 a.m. appearance hours after polls had closed.
When Trump wins—as he did last week in a case involving the porn star Stormy Daniels—“It emboldens him to continue this rampage of litigation for alternative purposes,” claimed his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, who went to jail for making hush money payments to Daniels, as well as lying to Congress about a proposed Trump skyscraper in Moscow.
The suits have proven beneficial in other ways.
Trump spent more than a year and a half fighting efforts by then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. to obtain copies of his tax returns, taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
While Trump ultimately failed, his stall tactics dragged the case out so long that Vance, who had appeared on the cusp of seeking an indictment, was replaced by a successor who has allegedly all but closed the case.
Even family is not immune.
In September, Trump sued his estranged niece, Mary Trump, and the New York Times over a 2018 story that challenged Trump’s claims of self-made wealth by documenting how his father, Fred, had given him at least $413 million over the decades, including through tax avoidance schemes.
Trump’s lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, accused Mary Trump of breaching a settlement agreement by disclosing the records to the newspaper’s reporters.
While the legal defense did not dispute Mary’s violation of the existing legal agreements, that only gave them another angle from which to attack.
Mary Trump’s lawyer, Ted Boutrous, wrote in a March 11 letter to the court that Trump’s lawsuit was “brought to punish Mary Trump and to chill speech in the public interest about the former President.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press