- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BuzzFeed has sued the Democratic National Committee seeking evidence of the cyberattack it suffered during the 2016 White House race in hopes of substantiating claims contained in the salacious dossier it published detailing President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

Attorneys for BuzzFeed filed a motion in D.C. federal court Wednesday requesting access to certain “clues” and “evidence” left behind by whomever hacked the DNC during the alleged Russian-sponsored cyberattack, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Times.

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Russians hacked the DNC during the 2016 race, and claims concerning that attack and others appeared in a dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and first published by BuzzFeed early last year. BuzzFeed was subsequently sued for libel by a Russian tech executive implicated therein, and its attorneys hope to counter that suit by obtaining evidence in the DNC’s possession.

“As part of the discovery process, BuzzFeed is attempting to verify claims in the dossier that relate to the hacking of the DNC — which, the dossier alleges, was done with the support of Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman,” BuzzFeed News spokesman Matt Mittenthal told The Washington Times in a statement.

“We’re asking a federal court to force the DNC to follow the law and allow BuzzFeed to fully defend its First Amendment rights,” Mr. Mittenthal added.

The DNC did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Published days prior to Mr. Trump’s inauguration, the so-called Steele dossier alleged, among other claims, that Mr. Gubarev operated internet businesses that used “botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.” Attorneys for Mr. Gubarev sued BuzzFeed the next month in Miami federal court, and BuzzFeed began asking DNC late last year for certain technical information that could possibly substantiate its contents, albeit unsuccessfully: BuzzFeed served DNC with a subpoena in November 2017, and ultimately the website resorted to litigation after numerous discussions failed to produce the evidence requested, according to the lawsuit.

Russia has denied interfering in the 2016 race.

BuzzFeed’s lawsuit was first reported Tuesday by Vanity Fair.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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