NEW YORK (AP) — A judge evaluating a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign of conspiring with Russia to win the election said Friday that he might consider the Mueller Report despite Democrats’ objections.
Lawyers for defendants including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, encouraged the judge to consider special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, while a Democratic Party lawyer argued against it.
The dispute arose during arguments before U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl in Manhattan.
Koeltl said the Mueller Report’s findings might normally be excluded as hearsay, but there’s an exception when it concerns contents of a public investigation.
The 448-page report released in April said the investigation did not find collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The lawsuit said Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia, WikiLeaks, Trump’s son-in-law and others. Trump’s campaign denies that.
After the report was released, lawyers for the campaign asked Koeltl to penalize the Democratic National Committee for even bringing the lawsuit, saying Mueller’s findings revealed the “doomed effort to prove a falsehood.”
At the time, lawyers for the Democratic Party responded by saying Mueller’s report confirms and bolsters their claims by detailing the campaign’s repeated suspicious interactions with Russian agents, proving the campaign participated in Russia’s election interference.
But party lawyer Joseph Sellers on Friday tried to discourage Koeltl from using the report, saying it would be appropriate to note there was a report but not to consider its contents.
Trump campaign attorney Michael Carvin said it would be fine because it’s a public document with facts that would seem integral to the lawsuit.
Carvin said he wasn’t saying that the Mueller Report confronts “all the wild-eyed accusations,” but he said the findings make it harder to make the party’s allegations in good faith.