"We're seeking justice," DNC Chairman Tom Perez says of Russia-Trump conspiracy lawsuit

DNC chair Tom Perez on new lawsuit
DNC chair Tom Perez on new lawsuit 02:11

WASHINGTON -- The special counsel has not concluded its collusion investigation, but the Democratic National Committee (DNC) isn't waiting. The DNC filed a civil suit in federal district court in Manhattan on Friday. It argues the Trump campaign conspired with WikiLeaks and Russia to hack and disseminate DNC emails in 2016 and seeks millions in damages.

The defendants are a who's who of the Trump campaign. Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the Russian Federation are all accused by the DNC of "previously unimaginable treachery."

"We're seeking justice and we're seeking deterrence," DNC Chairman Tom Perez said.

The 66-page lawsuit accuses russian hackers of "stealing tens of thousands of documents and emails" from the DNC and outlines all the known contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign.

In April of 2016, for instance, Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos "met with a Kremlin-tied agent" who told him about the DNC breach just four days after it happened.

"Throughout the summer and fall of 2016, Mr. Trump's associates continued to secretly communicate with Russian agents and WikiLeaks" as the embarrassing email leak rocked the Democratic National Convention.

The Trump campaign dismissed the suit Friday as a "frivolous" last-ditch effort to "substantiate the baseless Russian collusion allegations by a nearly-bankrupt Democratic Party."

"Your critics say this is just a stunt to try to raise money," CBS News asked.

"Protecting democracy is not a publicity stunt. We had employees whose lives were threatened. If you threaten one of my colleagues current or former, yeah, I'm gonna fight back. I'm gonna fight like heck," Perez said.

The DNC said the evidence has been piling up and Russia has yet to pay much of a price for its election meddling. But some Democrats don't think that this is a great idea or great timing. They worry that it's only going to further politicize the criminal investigation being conducted by the special counsel Robert Mueller.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' chief White House correspondent.