Trump appeals dismissal of suit against Clinton, FBI

By Kara Scannell | CNN

Former President Donald Trump is appealing a federal judge’s decision last month to dismiss his sprawling lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, several ex-FBI officials and more than two dozen other people and entities that he claims conspired to undermine his 2016 campaign by trying to vilify him with fabricated information tying him to Russia.

Trump’s attorneys filed a notice Tuesday indicating they are appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last month, US District Judge Donald Middlebrooks dismissed Trump’s lawsuit, saying, “most of Plaintiff’s claims are not only unsupported by any legal authority but plainly foreclosed by binding precedent.”

“What (Trump’s lawsuit) lacks in substance and legal support it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and the settling of scores and grievances,” Middlebrooks, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote.

Trump filed his sprawling lawsuit in March, naming a wide cast of characters that Trump has accused for years of orchestrating a “deep state” conspiracy against him — including former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI officials, the retired British spy Christopher Steele and his associates, and a handful of Clinton campaign advisers.

Over 108 pages, the lawsuit railed against many of Trump’s political opponents and highlighted the grievances that he has complained about for years. It claimed Democrats and government officials perpetrated a grab bag of offenses, from a racketeering conspiracy to a malicious prosecution, computer fraud and theft of secret internet data.

While the Clinton campaign did pay researchers to dig up dirt about Trump and Russia, and well-connected Democrats took some of their findings to law enforcement, many of the key elements of Trump’s far-reaching accusations in the lawsuit have previously been debunked by the Justice Department inspector general and by a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Special counsel John Durham, for the past three years, has been investigating a lot of the conduct that Trump mentioned in his lawsuit. But Durham has not gone as far as what Trump claims.

In fact, Durham hasn’t delivered anything in three-plus years resembling the Watergate-level charges that Trump has repeatedly said are coming. He secured just one guilty plea from an FBI lawyer. Durham’s only other case, against a Hillary Clinton campaign attorney, ended with an acquittal.

The final expected trial of Durham’s inquiry began Tuesday and focused on the infamous “Steele dossier,” which roiled US politics after the 2016 election, fueled the FBI probe of potential Trump-Russia collusion and continues to be cited by former President Donald Trump as proof of a grand conspiracy to destroy his political career.

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