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Donald Trump and and Hillary Clinton are on stage during the second debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on October 9, 2016, at Washington University in St. Louis. Trump announced on Thursday, March 24, 2022, that he is suing Clinton over the “Russia hoax.”

Donald Trump and and Hillary Clinton are on stage during the second debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on October 9, 2016, at Washington University in St. Louis. Trump announced on Thursday, March 24, 2022, that he is suing Clinton over the “Russia hoax.” (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Former President Donald Trump is taking Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee to court over what he has called "the Russia hoax," allegations that his successful 2016 campaign for the presidency was aided by collusion with Russia.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Florida, Trump accuses his opponents of manufacturing the Russian collusion story in a bid to undermine the legitimacy of his campaign, his Electoral College victory and his presidency.

"Hillary Clinton and her cohorts orchestrated an unthinkable plot — one that shocks the conscience and is an affront to this nation's democracy," attorneys for the former president wrote. "The defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent ... was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty. The actions taken in furtherance of their scheme — falsifying evidence, deceiving law enforcement, and exploiting access to highly-sensitive data sources — are so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison."

Trump's ties to Russia were brought up as a campaign issue repeatedly in 2016, with Clinton calling him a "puppet" of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a nationally televised debate. The extent of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia were investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose report on Russian interference became a political Rorschach test after it was released in March 2019.

"The investigation established multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government," Mueller's report concluded. "Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the [Trump] campaign. In some instances, the campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the campaign officials shied away. Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities."

According to Trump's lawsuit, the allegations of collusion were nothing more than political theater aimed at "destroying" Trump's life and political career.

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