Trump Campaign Files New Brief with First Amendment Defense

  • November 28, 2018

On November 28, 2018, the Trump Campaign filed another brief in the Eastern District of Virginia arguing that it has a constitutional right to conspire with Russia to disseminate the private, personal information of Hillary’s supporters including social security numbers.

Needless to say, this argument is especially relevant as the President’s legal team prepares to respond to the Mueller investigation. In particular, while the President is still steadfastly denying collusion on Twitter, his lawyers are instead pursuing a different tactic: arguing the the President had a First Amendment right to collude. The Campaign’s argument is wrong.


The First Amendment protects Americans’ right to speak and comment on issues of public interest; it is not a license for a political campaign to cooperate with a hostile foreign power to disseminate indisputably private information — such as social security numbers — in violation of multiple federal laws as well as state privacy law.

Protect Democracy will continue to seek to ensure that our clients get the justice they deserve and that those responsible for harming them and our democracy are held accountable. We are confident we will succeed.


Today’s reply brief is the Trump Campaign’s latest filing in Cockrum v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. United to Protect Democracy brought this lawsuit in July on behalf of three Americans who had their private information (including social security numbers and private correspondence) published to the world in violation of federal civil-rights law and state privacy law.  For prior filings, see the Trump Campaign’s motion to dismiss, our response, and this amicus brief from Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Richard Schragger explaining why the Campaign’s First Amendment arguments are wrong.

In addition to this lawsuit, Protect Democracy has been leading broad efforts to ensure that the American people are able to understand what happened in the 2016 election and use that information to hold their elected representatives accountable. We are working with the Nobody is Above the Law coalition to protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation from politicized attacks and to ensure that Mueller’s findings are transparent and lead to accountability. And we recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of Benjamin Wittes, Jack Goldsmith, and Stephen Bates, that prompted the release of the Watergate Road Map, which provides a historical precedent for ensuring that the facts uncovered in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation become public.