Judge tosses Trump’s Russia probe suit against Clinton, FBI

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Florida has dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and former top FBI officials, rejecting the former president’s claims that they and others acted in concert to concoct the Russia investigation that shadowed much of his administration.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks said in a sharply worded ruling on Thursday that Trump’s lawsuit, filed in March, contained “glaring structural deficiencies” and that many of the “characterizations of events are implausible.”

He dismissed the idea that Trump had sued to correct an actual legal harm, saying that “instead, he is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum.”

The lawsuit had named as defendants Clinton and some of her top advisers, as well as former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI officials involved in the investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had coordinated with Russia to sway the outcome of the election.

Other defendants include the founders of a political research firm that hired a former British spy to investigate ties between Trump and Russia, and a well-connected Democratic lawyer who was recently acquitted on a charge of lying to the FBI during a 2016 meeting in which he presented the bureau with information he wanted it to investigate.

But none of the claims, the judge wrote, supported Trump’s claims of a conspiracy against him.

“What the Amended Complaint lacks in substance and legal support it seeks to substitute with length, hyperbole, and the settling of scores and grievances,” Middlebrooks wrote.

A 2019 Justice Department inspector general report did identify certain flaws by the FBI during the Russia investigation, but did not find evidence that the bureau’s leaders were motivated by political bias in opening the probe and said the inquiry was started for a legitimate purpose.

A separate investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller produced criminal charges against nearly three dozen people and entities and found pervasive Russian interference in the election, but did not establish a criminal conspiracy with the Trump campaign.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said Friday that Trump would appeal the dismissal.

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