DNC's Lawsuit Against Russia, Trump And WikiLeaks
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Another big political story this week is the lawsuit that we were just talking about filed by the Democratic National Committee alleging collusion between the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks and the Russian government. Earlier today, I spoke with Luis Miranda. He was the DNC communications director when WikiLeaks published thousands of hacked emails. In fact, many of his emails were hacked and made public. And I started our conversation by asking him what the DNC hoped to accomplish with this lawsuit.
LUIS MIRANDA: I think it's an important lawsuit because while the criminal process has to move on, there also needs to be a civil side. The DNC certainly has standing. Its case is pretty thorough in terms of the damage that was caused and the impact that these nefarious actions had during the 2016 election. And people need to be held to account. And so it's an important part of our legal process to have a civil lawsuit that tracks alongside the criminal one.
MARTIN: But why, though? I mean, a civil lawsuit is between, you know, two private entities. It implies that there were specific damages that one entity inflicted upon the other. I mean, what damages did the DNC experience because of this?
MIRANDA: The DNC experienced significant financial damage, for starters. A lot of donations were lost that would have otherwise been made by donors who were concerned that their information might be exposed. They spent a lot of money also having to revamp their systems and mitigate the damage from the leaks and the intrusion.
And there was also personal and emotional damage here that is important. In the suit, they mentioned the harassment that staff endured in the aftermath of the leaks and death threats, threats of all kind. And that's important too because it made it harder for the staff to get their work done, to focus, to do the internal and external communications.
MARTIN: Forgive me, but, Mr. Miranda, the predicate of this case, though, is that there was collusion between these three entities. Do you have facts to support that argument?
MIRANDA: And again, I don't speak for the party at this time, so I'll let them speak through the specifics. But, as the suit lays out, I think it's important that in the things that they've revealed about the meetings that they had, about their interest in damaging information on the Clinton campaign, they've made it evident that there was, at the very least, a knowledge here of what was taking place. And so again, I think that that's why the lawsuit is important.
MARTIN: Before we let you go, Mr. Miranda, you were among the DNC staffers who resigned after these hacked emails were published. Is there something on a personal level that you would like - like, what would make you whole?
MIRANDA: You know, I don't know that you can ever be whole after something like this. To me, the important thing is that we don't let this type of thing happen again. I'm not looking at this from a personal level as much as the fact that it was an attack on our democracy. And I believe wholeheartedly that we have to make sure that nobody believes that they can behave in the way that the Trump campaign did in 2016 and get away with it. But ultimately, this is about more than the 2016 elections. It's about protecting our democracy.
MARTIN: That's Luis Miranda. He's former communications director for the DNC. His emails were among the thousands made public by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr. Miranda, thanks so much for talking to us.
MIRANDA: Thank you.
MARTIN: Let me note that the Trump campaign has issued a statement calling this a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional and nearly insolvent Democratic Party. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.