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Clinton asks judge to dismiss Trump’s lawsuit over 2016 election

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton at the Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin on Feb. 25, 2020. (David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images)

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Wednesday asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former president Donald Trump alleging that Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and others “maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative” that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential race.

“Whatever the utility of Plaintiff’s Complaint as a fundraising tool, a press release, or a list of political grievances, it has no merit as a lawsuit, and should be dismissed with prejudice,” attorneys for Clinton wrote in their motion to dismiss the case.

Trump filed the 108-page complaint last month in U.S. District Court in Florida. In the complaint, which comes more than five years after Trump defeated Clinton in the November 2016 election, Trump claimed that he incurred expenses of more than $24 million in defending himself against the accusations and is seeking damages equivalent to three times that amount.

More than two dozen entities and individuals are named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seems to draw heavily on indictments brought by special counsel John Durham, who had been tasked by then-Attorney General William P. Barr with reviewing the FBI’s 2016 investigation of Trump’s campaign. But the lawsuit often exaggerated or misstated Durham’s allegations or other facts of the case, as it sought to portray a grand Clinton-led conspiracy to upend the Trump campaign.

Trump’s lawsuit took particular aim at the now-infamous dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia, which was written by a former British spy who had been hired by an opposition research firm working for the Clinton campaign.

In their motion filed Wednesday, Clinton’s attorneys argued that the statute of limitations had expired “long ago” because the bulk of Trump’s claims date to 2016 and 2017. They pointed to an October 2017 tweet in which Trump railed against the “Clinton made Fake Dossier” and declared, “There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

“[N]otwithstanding his rousing, all-caps call to action, Plaintiff waited four years, four months, and twenty-four days before filing suit,” Clinton’s attorneys said in the filing. “His delay renders each of his claims untimely.”

Trump’s lawsuit also highlighted an effort by a lawyer with connections to Democrats who sought to get the FBI to investigate possible computer connections between a Trump Organization server and a Russian financial institution known as Alfa Bank.

In their motion Wednesday, Clinton’s attorneys dismissed Trump’s claims as “the type of fact-free pleading this Court is bound to reject.”

“Plaintiff’s core grievance against Hillary Clinton is the practice of politics, and cannot support this legal claim,” they said.

Trump also this month asked U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who has been assigned to the case, to recuse himself because he was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1997, Politico reported. Middlebrooks rejected that request, noting that he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and that “every federal judge is appointed by a president who is affiliated with a major political party.”

Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

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