The former Trump campaign adviser whose ties to Russia were at the heart of the investigation into that country’s interference in the 2016 US election is suing the Democratic National Committee and a prominent law firm that had dug up some of the allegations against him.
Carter Page, a businessmen who served on President Donald Trump’s campaign foreign-policy team, filed the lawsuit in Illinois federal court Thursday against the DNC and the law firm Perkins Coie, accusing them of defamation and “effectively destroying his once-private life.”
The defendants “used false information, misrepresentations and other misconduct to direct the power of the international intelligence apparatus and the media industry against a private individual, Plaintiff Carter Page, to further their political agenda,” the suit says.
Perkins Coie represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC ahead of the 2016 election, and it has said it paid for opposition research efforts into Trump that later became public as the Steele dossier.
While some of the unverified intelligence in the dossier has been confirmed by US authorities, other elements have proved incorrect or have yet to be corroborated. Page has denied allegations brought up in the dossier about meetings in Russia with high-level officials, although special counsel Robert Mueller found that he did discuss sales of a state-owned energy company with an executive there.
The FBI later used details contained in the dossier as it sought a highly intrusive form of surveillance on Page in late 2016. The agency’s applications to obtain that surveillance, issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, have since been heavily criticized, including by the Justice Department watchdog.
Last month, the Justice Department declared at least two of the four surveillance warrants against Page invalid, citing misstatements and omissions. Page was never charged with a crime, and the Mueller report said investigators could not establish any coordination between Page and the Russian government as it interfered in the election.
The suit also names two Perkins Coie attorneys who worked with the DNC, Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann, as defendants.
“This complaint recycles allegations by Carter Page that were dismissed by a federal judge in Oklahoma last year, and we expect that this latest lawsuit will likewise be dismissed,” a spokesperson for Perkins Coie said.
“Carter Page’s baseless claims are recycled from his previous lawsuit, which was dismissed last year,” said DNC deputy communications director Adrienne Watson.
John Pierce, the attorney for Page, called the lawsuit the “first salvo” in a “campaign to restore Dr. Page’s name and hold those who targeted him accountable.”
“This is a first step to ensure that the full extent of the FISA abuse that has occurred during the last few years is exposed and remedied,” Pierce said.
This story has been updated with comment from the DNC.