Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez Monday defended a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russian government, complaining that there was no sufficient action taken against Russia for its actions in the 2016 race.
“It is hard to win elections if you continue to have interference,” Perez told CNN’s “New Day.” “There have been no deterrents from the inaction of this administration. We failed to impose sufficient costs on Russia for meddling in the election.”
The reason for that, he added, is clear because the Trump administration is “compromised.”
“We have to make sure we build our democracy,” said Perez. “This is a case about preserving our democracy.”
The party last Friday filed its lawsuit in Manhattan claiming the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and Russia conspired to influence the election. The lawsuit alleges that the campaign worked with the Russians and WikiLeaks, which released thousands of hacked emails close to 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and that all three parties played a role in the hacking activities.
The lawsuit has met with a great deal of criticism, including from David Axelrod, the chief strategist for former President Barack Obama’s campaigns, who referred to it in a tweet as a “sideshow” and saying both sides should leave special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his investigation.
“It’s not,” Perez said Monday. “When the Watergate lawsuit was brought by Larry O’Brien, you look at what John Mitchell and other folks said. It has a similar area of what the Trump folks were saying. I have great respect for David Axelrod and others. We can walk and chew gum. People want good jobs. They want good education. They want to make sure they have a bright future for the children. They want to make sure they have a bright future for our democracy. This was an attack not just on the DNC but on our democracy.”
He also rejected criticism that the Democratic Party is no longer working for white working class voters and unions, or on behalf of the party, while it is now also working to reflect the nation’s growing diversity.
“There is this false choice that people put out that says you have to either work on behalf of white working class voters or on behalf of the Democratic Party,” said Perez. “I reject that. “We have been working everywhere. We are organizing in every zip code. We were fighting for Doug Jones in Alabama. We are fighting with African-American voters there. We were also talking to voters in every zip code of that state.”