Read Russia's letter arguing for the DNC lawsuit to be dismissed

The Russian government is arguing that a federal court should dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee alleging that Moscow’s military spies, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.

Case 1:18-cv-03501-JGK Document 186 Filed 11/09/18 Page 1 of 15

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

-------------------------------------------------------------X

USOC SONY
DOCUMENT
ELECTRONICALLY FILED
DOC#
A*
DATE FILED: __ ] { , , ...,~A*---~:

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE,
Plaintiff,
18 civ 3501 (JGK)
-againstTHE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, et al.,
Defendant.

-------------------------------------------------------------X
ORDER
The Court has received the attached facsimile, and is filing it along with this order.

SO ORDERED.

~bf{~_
JOHN G. KOEL TL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Dated: New York, New York
November 8, 2018

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Case 1:18-cv-03501-JGK Document 186 Filed 11/09/18 Page 2 of 15

U.S. Department of State
Attn: Office of the Legal Adviser
Attn: Bureau of European and Eurasian
Affairs
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

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E-mail: info@minjust.ru

Honorable John G. Koeltl
United States District Judge

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rrap-rHK ( c/o Joseph M. Sellers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC (DC), 1100 New York

e-mail:
Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, West Tower, Washington, DC 20005,
jsellers@cohenmilstein.com), q>oH.uy A<<~omuI&J( TpaMD. B Ilpe3a.n;eHT.LlA>> (c/o Michael A.
Carvin, Jones Day LLP, 51 Louisiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001,
e-mail: macarvin@jonesday.com), Apacy AranapoBy H 3MHHY AranapoBy (c/o Scott Sonny
Balber, Herbert Smith Freehills New York LLP, 450 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017,
e-mail: scott.balber@hsf.com). ,l()J(ape,zzy Kynmepy (c/o Abbe David Lowell, Winston &
Strawn
LLP.
1700
K
St
NW.
Washington,
DC
20006,
e-mail: adlowell@winston.com), ,r(ii<op,n)K)' Ilano.norronocy (c/o Caroline Johnston Polisi,
Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, 20 West 23rd Street. 5th Fl, New York,
NY
10010,
e-mail:
cpolisi@creizmanllc.com).
Po,IOKepy
CTOYHY-MJia.A(r)IeMY
(c/o Robert C. Buschel, Busche! Gibbons, P.A., 100 S.E. 3d Ave, Suite 1300,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394, e-mail: buschel@bglaw-pa.com), opramt.saium A<<WikiLeaksA>>
(c/o Joshua Lewis Dratel, Law Offices of Joshua L. Dratel, P.C .aC/ 29 Broadway, Suite 1412,
New York, NY 10006, e-mail: jdratel@josbuadratel.com).
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Trpnslation into En~lish

/Official blank of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation/

U.S. Department of State
Attn: Office of the Legal Adviser
Attn: Bureau of European and
Eurasian Affairs
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Honorable John G. Koeltl
United States District Judge
United States Distrkt Court for the
Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10007
Fax: +l (212) 805-791.2
6 November 2018, no. 06-144392/18
RE:

Democratic National Committee v. The Russian Federation et al.
18-CV-03501-JGK (S.D.N.Y.)

The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has the honor to convey
the enclosed Statement of Immunity by the Russian Federation as to the al1egations
contained within the Amended Complaint filed on October 3, 2018 by the Democratic
National Committee in the ongoing proceedings in Democratic National Committee v.
The Russian Federation eta!., No. l:18-CV-3501-JGK (S.D.N.Y.).
By transmitting this letter and the enclosed Statement, the Russian Federation
respectfully does not enter an appearance in the litigation, does not waive its
sovereign immunity under international law or the United States, statutory or federal
common law, and does not submit to the jurisdiction of the United States District
Court.
The Russian Federation reserves all rights as a foreign sovereign State.
The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation also transmits by e-mail
copies of this Note and the enclosed Statement to the litigants, namely, Democratic

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2

National Committee (c/o Joseph M. Sellers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
(DC), 1100 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, West Tower, Washington, DC
20005, e-mail: jsellers@cohenmilstein.com), Donald J. Trump For President, Inc.
(c/o Michael A. Carvin, Jones Day LLP, 51 Louisiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
20001, e-mail: macarvin@jonesday.com), Aras I. Agalarov and Emin A. Agalarov
(c/o Scott Sonny Balber, Herbert Smith Freehills New York LLP, 450 Lexington Ave,
New York, NY 10017, e-mail: scott.balber@hsf.com), Jared C. Kushner (c/o Abbe
David Lowen, Winston & Strawn LLP, 1700 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006,
e-mail; adlowell@winston.com), George Papadopoulos (c/o Caroline Johnston Polisi,
Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP, 20 West 23rd Street, 5th Fl, New York,
NY
10010,
e-mail:
cpolisi@creizmanllc.com),
Roger
J.
Stone,
Jr.
(c/o Robert C. Buschel, Buschel Gibbons, P.A., 100 S.E. 3d Ave, Suite 1300, Fort
Lauderdale, FL 33394, e-mail: buschel@bglaw-pa.com), WikiLeaks (c/o Joshua
Lewis Dratel, Law Offices of Joshua L. Dratel, P.C., 29 Broadway, Suite 1412, New
York, NY 10006, e-mail: jdratel@joshuadratel.com).

Enclosure: on 12 pages.

Director of the Department
for International Law and Cooperation

Mikhail V.Vinogradov
/Official seal of the Ministry of
Justice of the Russian Federation/

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Case 1:18-cv-03501-JGK Document 186 Filed 11/09/18 Page 6 of 15

ANNEX
STATEMENT OF IMMUNITY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
on the Russian Federation's Immunity from the U.S. District Court's Jurisdiction Under
the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Other Issues Relating to the Democratic
National Committee's Allegations in Case No. 1:18-CV-3501 (S.D.N.Y.)
November (61, 2018

I.

INTRODUCTION

a. Tn this Position Paper, the Russian Federation sets forth its legal analysis of the
aJlegations contained within the Amended Complaint filed by the Democratic
National Committee ("DNC") in the ongoing proceedings before the U.S. District
Court in Case No. l:18-CV-3501 (S.D.N.Y.).
b. By transmitting this Position Paper to the U.S. District Court and to the U.S. State
Department, with copies to the litigants, the Russian Federation does not enter an
appearance in the litigation, does not waive its sover:eign immunity under
customary international law or U.S. statutory law, and does not submit to the
subject-matter jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court. The Russian Federation
reserves all rights.
c. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA") creates an "independent
obligation" for the U.S. District Court "to consider the presence or absence of
subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte." 1 In Case No. l:18-CV-3501 (S.D.N.Y.),
the U.S. District Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction under the FSTA to hear
claims against the Russian Federation based on the DNCs allegations:

i. Within the U.S. legal system, the FSIA is the exclusive basis for the U.S.
District Court's subject-matter jurisdiction as to claims against a foreign
sovereign State, such as the Russian Federation. 2

ii. The FSIA provides that foreign sovereign States enjoy absolute
jurisdictional immunity from suit unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that
one of the FSlA's enumerated "exceptions" applies.3

1
Walters v. Indus. & Commer. Bank of China, Ltd., 651 F.3d 280, 287 (2d Cir. 201 l); see also Verlinden B.V. v.
Cem. Bank of N;g., 461 U.S. 480, 493 n.20 (1983) ("{SJubject matter jurisdiction turns on the existence of an

exception to foreign sovereign immunity, ... even if the foreign state does not enter an appearance to assert an
immunity defense, a District Court still must determine that immunity under the FSIA."); Practical Concepts, Tnc. v.
Republic af Bolivt'a, 811 F.2d 1543, 1552 (0.C. Cir. 1987).
2

See Argentine Repuhlic v. Amerada Hess Shipping Corp., 488 U.S. 428, 434 (1989).

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iii. As detailed below, the DNC's allegations regarding a purported "military
attack" by "Russia's military jntelligence agency" do not fall within any of
the FSIA 's enumerated exceptions to the Russian Federation's sovereign
immunity. Accordingly, the U.S. District Court must dismiss the DNC's
claims against the Russian Federation sua sponte based on lack of subject
matter jurisdiction.
d. This Position Paper also addresses several additional grounds for the U.S. District
Court to dismiss the claims against the Russian Federation. Even if such grounds
may be characterized as "non-jurisdictional," the U.S. District Court should
nonetheless consider these grounds as a matter of international comity. Notably,
the U.S. District Court and other American courts have frequently accepted and
relied upon submissions received as diplomatic letters from foreign sovereign
States even with respect to non-jurisdictional issues. 4
Il.

BACKGROUND

a. The DNC has alleged that "Russia's military intelligence agency', participated in
"a brazen attack on American democracy." Am. Comp). ~if 1, 4, 40. Specifically,
the DNC identifies nine "Russian military officer[s]" who acted pursuant to
"military orders." Am. Comp!. 1,r 54-63, 101. This alleged attack involved "a
cyberattack on the DNC," followed by a campaign of "destabilizing the U.S.
political environment" by disseminating the DNC's emails to the American news
media. Am. Compl. 1[ 1.
b. By reference, the DNC's Amended Complaint incorporates the unclassified
version of a January 2017 report by the U.S. Intelligence Community and a July
2018 indictment filed by the Special Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice,
Robert S. Mueller III. Both of these incorporated documents contain identical
allegations regarding the purportedly "military" narure of the alleged cyber
operations.
c. Under the standard applicable within the U.S. legal system under Twombly and
Iqbal, and assuming the truth of all pleaded al1egations,5 the U.S. District Court
3

28 U.S.C. ASS 1604: Bo/ivarian Republic of Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne /111'! Drilling Co., 137 S.Ct. 1312,

1316 (2017).
4

See G/encore Denrees Paris v. Dep'l of Nat'/ Store Branch I (Vietnam), 99 Civ. 8607, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
9387, at "'4 n.4 (S.D.N.V. July 6, 2000) rev 'don other grounds, 24 Fed. Appx. I 00 (2d Cir. 2002); see also Swezey
v. Merrill Lynch, 87 A.D.3d 119,129 n.10 (N.Y App. Div. 201 I); Lizarbe v. Rondon, 642 F. Supp. 2d 473,483 (D.
Md. 2009), Paredes v. Vila, 479 F. Supp. 2d 187, 192 (D.D.C. 2007); Prewlct Emers. v. OP EC, 224 F .R.D. 497, 500
n.4 (N.D. Ala. 2002).
'This standard "is similar to that of Rule 12(b)(6), under which dismissal is warr21J1ted ifno plausible inferences can
be drawn .&om the facts alleged that, if proven, would provide grounds for relief. " Schubarth v. Fed. Republic of
Germany, 891 F.3d 392, 399 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (quoting Price v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 294
F.3d 82, 93 (D.C. Cir. 2002)).

2

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lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate any claims against the Russian Federation based
upon the DNC's allegations. As explained by the U.S. Supreme Court, the basis
for any exception to the FSIA must be pleaded fully. Bolivarian Republic of
Venezue/a v. Helmerich & Payne Int'/ Drilling Co., 131 S.Ct. 1312, 1316 (2017).

d. Any alleged "military attack" is a quintessential sovereign act that does not fall
within any exception to the FSIA or the customary international law of foreign
sovereign immunity. The Russian Federation's sovereign immunity with respect
to claims based upon such allegations is absolute.
e. Indeed, the United States benefits significantly from the sovereign immunity that
it enjoys (and U.S. officials enjoy) in foreign courts around the world with respect
to the United States' frequent acts of cyber intrusion and political interference.
As current and former U.S. officials have acknowledged on many occasions, the
United States-acting primarily through the National Security Agency (NSA)
within the U.S. Department of Defense-is one of the most prolific practitioners
of cyberattacks and cyber-intrusions on the planet:
i.

As explained by one former U.S. Assistant Attorney General, ''the U.S.
intelligence services break into computers and computer networks abroad
at an astounding rate, certainly on a greater scale than any other
intelligence service in the world."6

ii. The NSA's practices in this regard have been pub1icly acknowledged by
leading voices in the U.S. foreign policy and intelligence communities,
including numerous former members of the Bush and Obama
administrations. 7

r. Jack Goldsmith, Unco,rif'ortable Questions in the Wqke of Russia Indictment 2.0 and Trump's Press Conference

With Putin, LAWFARE (July 16, 2018) ("The Mueller indi"'tment at bottom accuses the named Russians of hacking
into computers in the United States, stealing information, and using that infonnat1on in public to Russia's advantage.
Similarly, the United States uses the masses of digital infonnation it steals to its advantage: in every element of its
international relations, including to influence foreign political outcomes."). The author, Jack Goldsmith, is a
Professor at Harvard Law School (2004-present) who served as Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal
Counsel (2003-2004) and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense (2002-2003) under President George W.
Bush.
7

David E. Sanger, Obama Order Sped Op Wave of Cyberalfackr Against Iran, N. Y. TIMES (June I, 2012) ("From
his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer
systems that run Tran's main nuclear enrichment &cilities, significantly expanding America's first sustained use of
cyberweapons, according to participants in the program."); see al~o Spencer Hsu & Ellen Nakashima, Former Joi'II
Chiefs of Staff vice chairman pleads guilty to false statement.~ i11 classified leak investigation. WASHINGTON POST
(Oct. 17, 2016) (explaining that General Cartwright admitted in a guilty plea that he had served as a source for ,
David Sanger's June 2012 article m the New York Times); Scott Shane, Russia lm't the Only One Meddling in
Elections. We Do It, Too, N.Y. TIMES (.Feb. 17, 2018) (.. 'Jfyou ask M intelligence officer, did the Russians break
the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all,' said Steven L. !iall, who retired in 2015 after 30 years
at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian ope:ratiom;. The United States 'absolutely' has carried out such
election influence operations historically, he said, 'and I hope we keep doing it."').

3

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iii. Accordingly, the United StatesaC/ own interests and foreign relations would
be significantly undermined by a tidal wave of civil litigation against the
United States in foreign courts (e.g., evidentiary discovery, seizure of
assets) based upon the activities of the NSA or the United States' other
"military intelligence agencies."

t:

This has significant consequences for the DNC's allegations, because foreign
sovereign immunity is fundamentally interconnected with "reciprocal selfinterest."8 When drafting and enacting the FSIA, the U.S. Congress could not
possibly have intended to encourage a flood of lawsuits against the United States
in foreign courts based upon either election interference or cyber warfare. The
U.S. District Court must therefore reject the DNC's erroneous interpretation of
the FSIA, which would undermine th.e protections of sovereign immunity
routinely relied upon by the United States and would significantly undermine
international relations.

g. Moreover) these are State-to-State matters. The U.S. Executive and U.S.
Congress are the proper actors to address this "political question" within the
United States' constitutional system. Significantly, neither the Executive nor the
U.S. Congress has taken any steps to involve the Judicial Branch in their
response. The U.S. Congress has also resisted naive calls over the past decade to
create a "cyberattack" exception to the FSTA.
h. As detailed below, therefore, the Russian Federation is immune and the U.S.
District Court has no jurisdiction. Moreover, the U.S. District Court should reject
the DNC's efforts to distort the meaning of the existing FSlA exceptions and to
involve the U.S. District Court in this political and diplomatic issue.
Ill.

Legal Analysis of Sovereign Immunity, the "Political Question" Doctrine, and
Venue
a. Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction undC:r the FSIA

.i. Under 28 U.S.C. ASS 1604 and decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, a
foreign State is immune from suit unless one of the FSlA's exceptions
applies.
ii. The DNC's allegations do not permit the U.S. District Court to exercise
jurisdiction in this case. The DNC attempts to invoke the U.S. District
Court's jurisdiction under the "commercial activity" exception and the
"tortious act" exception of the FSIA. (Am. Comp!. -,J 35.) But neither
1 Phllippine.f v. Pimentel, 553 U.S. 851, 866 (2008) (quoting National City Bank of N. .Y. v. Republic of China, 348
U.S. 356, 362, and n. 7 (1955)), see also Aquamar S.A. v. Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., 179 F.3d 1279, 1295
(11th Cir. 1999) ("(T]he FSTA's purposes included ... according for1a:1gn sovereigns treatment in U.S. courts that is
similar to the treatment the United States would prefer to receivt: in foreign courts ...." (internal citations omitted)).

4

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exception applies to alleged military activities-such as alleged
CY,berattacks on political infrastructure allegedly carried out by the State
and/or its military officers.
4

iii. The ' commercial activity" exception under ASS 1605(a)(2) does not apply
here because:
1. The gravamen of the DNC's complaint is an alleged military attack

by a "military intelligence agency" upon the United States'
political infrastructure. The similar allegations incorporated from
the U.S. Intelligence Community's 20) 7 Report and the Special
Counsel's 2018 Indictment confirm the "military" nature of the
alleged attack. The DNC therefore has not alleged a commercial
activity, but a quintessentially sovereign activity.
2. A tort case cannot be re-characterized as a commercial act1v1ty
case simply to satisfy FSJA jurisdiction. Saudi Arabia v. Nelson,
507 U.S. 349, 358 (1993). Here, the essence of the claim is
tortious activity by the Russian State to trespass in U.S. computer
systems so as to damage the U.S. election process. l'hus, the
allegations against the Russian Federation "boil[] down to abuse of
the power of its [military] by the [Russian] Government, and ... a
foreign state's exercise of the power of its [military] has long been
understood for purposes of the restrictive theory as peculiarly
sovereign in nature." Id. at 362.
I

3. This was the conclusion of the first U.S. District Court to consider
facts similar to the present case in Bro;dy Capital Management.
UC et al v. State of Qatar, No. 2:18-cv-02421 (C.D. Cal. 2018).
In that case, the U.S. District Court concluded that Qatar's alleged
hacking and leaking of electronic information belonging to a major
Republican fundraiser was not a "commercial activity."
4. Even though a private entity is "capable" of committing a
cyberattack, the FSIA's "commercial activity" exception applies
only where ''the activity is of the type an individual would
cuswmar;/y carry on for profit." Letelier v. Republic of Chile, 748
F.2d 790 (2d Cir. 1984) (emphasis added); see also ln re Terrorist
Attacks on September 11. 2001, 538 F.3d 71, 92 (2d Cir. 2008)
("[l]nquiry under the Commercial Activities Exception is not just
whether the act was public Gure imperil) or private (jure gestionis);
it also matters 'whether the particular actions that the foreign state
performs (whatever the motive behind them) are the type of actions
by which a private party engag~s in trade and traffic or commerce.'
. . . In this context, the Four Princes' donations to charity are not
part of the trade and commerce engaged in by a 'merchant in the
5

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marketplace."') (citations omitted). There is no allegation of profit
making here.
5. Certainly, a private entity is also "capable'' of committing murder
or kidnapping-but U.S. courts routinely hold that murder and
kidnapping are not commercial acts because they are not
customary acts by "a merchant in the marketplace". Letelier v.
Republic of Chile, 748 F.2d 790 (2d Cir. 1984); see also Cicippio
v. lrlamic Republic of Iran, 30 F.3d 164, 168 (D.C. Cir. 1994)
CtK]idnapping by itself cannot possibly be described as an act
typically performed by participants in the market (unless one
distorts the notion of a market to include a hostage bazaar)."); Jin
v. Ministry of State Sec., 557 F. Supp. 2d 131 (D.D.C. 2008)
(observing, in connection with hiring of thugs to implement policy
of eradicating Falun Gong, "[n ]o private citizen has the authority
to engage in such behavior as a routine, legitimate way of
participating in the market.").
6. The U.S. Congress cannot have intended to create an exception to
a foreign State's sovereign immunity for interference in foreign
elections or cyber warfare, because the U.S. Government routinely
participates in both types of activities.

iv. The "tortious act'' exception under ASS 1605(a)(S) does not apply here
because:

I. The action does not satisfy the "tortious act" exception's situs
requirement that requires the whole tort to occur in the United
States. The DNC's a11egations show that the "entire tort" did not
take place in the United States. In re Terrorist Attack,; on
Seprember 11, 2001, 714 F.3d 109, 116 (2d Cir, 2013); Cabiri v.
Governmen/ of Ghana, 165 F.3d 193 (2d Cir, 1999); Hirsh v. State
oflsrael, 962 F. Supp. 377, 383~84 (S.D.N.Y. 1997).
2. The action does not satisfy the "tortious act'' exception,s property
damage or loss requirement, because plaintiff primarily alleges that
information was disclosed, not that infonnation (or the systems in
which it resided) was lost or destroyed. See Intel Corp. v. Hamidi,
30 Cal. 4th 1342, 1347 (2003) (trespass to chattels claim could not
encompass aC/'an electronic communication that neither damages the
recipient computer system nor impairs its functioning); Moun/ v.
Pu/Jpoint, Inc .aC/ No. 13 Civ. 6592, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXlS I 12315,
28-30 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 17, 2016) (finding on the basis of Intel that
an electronic incursion into plaintiffsaC/ computing devices could not
give rise to a trespass to chattels claim because plaintiff pied no
''particularized allegations of diminished device perfot111ance").
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3. The "tortious act" exception contains'a carve-out for "discretionary
functions" under ASS 1605(a)(5)(A). The fulfillment of "military
orders,, is a textbook example of a discretionary function.
a. "The discretionary function exception preserves the
immunity of a sovereign nation when it would otherwise be
abrogated by the torrious activity exception "if two
conditions are met: (1) the acts alleged to be negligent must
be discretionary, in that they involve an element of
judgment or choice and are not compelled by statute or
regulation, and (2) the judgment or choice in question must
be grounded in considerations of public policy or
susceptible to policy analysis." USAA Cas. Ins. Co. v.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namib., 681 F.3d
103, 111-114 (2d Cir. 2012) (internal citations omitted).
b. Assuming that plaintiff's allegations are true, this would be
a quintessential example of an action taken pursuant ro a
"discretionary function.', See In re Terrorist Allacks on
September 11, 2001, 392 F. Supp. 2d 539, 555 (S.D.'N.Y.
2005) (finding Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High
Commission retained immunity pursuant to the
discretionary function exception because their al legA*ed
actions regarding support of Islamic charities and
distribution of humanitarian reJief funds involved decisions
were "grounded in social, economic, and political policy")
(internal citations omitted); see also Kline v. Kaneko, 685
F. Supp. 386, 391-392 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) (explaining that
foreign sovereign's decisions regarding formation and
enforcement of national policies are "clearly" discretionary
functions 'within the scope of [defendant's] official
duties.").

b. Political Question
i. The political question doctrine is "essentially a function of the separation
of powers," and "excludes trom judicial review those controversies which
revolve around policy choices and value determinations constitutionally
committed for resolution to the halls of Congress or the confines of the
Executive Branch.'' Torros S.p.A. v. United States, 982 F. Supp. 2d 325,
330 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (citations omitted).
ii. This case invades the purview of political branches of the U.S.

government. which have the exclusive authority to determine the United
States' response to a "military attack," notably by imposing sanctions
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against Russia for cyber-hacking and engaging in other measures relating
to US-Russian foreign policy. 9 See Arar v. Ashcroft, 585 F.3d 559, 575
(2d Cir. 2009) ("[F]oreign policy [is] the province a~d responsibility of the
Executive.... [C]ourts traditionally have been reluctant to intrude upon
the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs.,,);
EI-Shifa Pharm. Indus. Co. v. United States, 559 F.3d 578, 583 (D.C. Cir.
2009) ("Disputes involving national security and foreign policy decisions
are 'quintessential sources of political questions.,.,); Haig v. Agee, 453
U.S. 280, 292 (198]) ("Matters intimately related to foreign policy and
national security are rarely proper subjects for judicial intervention.").
iii. Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186,217 (1962) identified six situations in which
a non-justiciable political question may warrant abstention (each of which
may serve as an independent grounds for dismissal): (1) a textually
demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate
political department; (2) a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable
standards for resolving the issue; (3) the impossibility of deciding the
issue without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for
nonjudicial discretion; (4) the impossibility of a court's undertaking
independent resolution of the issue without expressing lack of the respect
due coordinate branches of government; (5) an unusual need for
unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or (6) the
potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by
various departments on one question.
iv. Courts in the S.D.N.Y. have recognized that, "The first factor addresses a
court's legal authority to resolve the particular issue presented, the second
and third focus on the Judiciary's competence to do so, and the final three
concern prudential considerations that may counsel against a court's
resolution of the issue." Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v.
Trump, 276 F. Supp. 3d 174, 193 (S.D.N.Y. 2017).
v. The first Baker v. Carr factor, which focuses on the Court's legal authority
to resolve the matter, warrants dismissal on political question grounds
because matters relating to foreign affairs and national security are
committed to the Executive. See Am. Ins. A.s-s 'n v. Garamendi, 539 U.S.
396,414 (2003) ("(T]he historical gloss on the 'executive power' vested in
Article II of the Constitution has recognized the President's 'vast share of
') On March 15, 20 I 3, the Department of the Treasury issued significant sanctions against Russian cyber actors
pursuant to Executive Order 13694 "Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious
Cyber-Enabled Activities," ("E.O. 13694") as amended by the Countering America's Adversaries Through
Sanctions Act ("CAATA"). Furthermore, the President has specifically addressed foreign inference in U.S. elections
with the September 12, ~018 issuance of Executive Order 13848 "Jmposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of
Foreign Interference in a United States Election" ("E.O. 13848"). Additionally, on December 28, 2016, President
Barak Obama issued Executive Order No. 13757 "Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency
With Respect to Significant Malicious Cybcr-Enabled Activities.''

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l.

responsibility for the conduct of our foreign relations.,,,); Oet_jen v.
Central LeaLher Co., 246 U.S. 297 (1918) ("The conduct of the foreign
relations of our Government is committed by the Constitution to the
Executive and the Legislative .... '').

v1. The second and third Baker v. Carr factors, which focus on the
competence of the Court to resolve the issue, warrant dismissal on
political question grounds because the Court is not in a position to address
a private claim relating to Russian alleged actions in the midst of the
United States' ongoing and evolving response to these allegations. See
Schneider v. Kiss;nger, 412 F. 3d 190 ar 197 (D.C. Cir. 2005) ("To
determine whether drastic measures should be taken in matters of foreign
policy and national security is not the stuff of adjudication, bur of
policymaking").
vii. The fourth, fifth, and six Baker v. Carr factors, which are largely
prudential considerations, warrant dismissal on political question grounds
because (1) the Executive is already committed to a course of action to
oombat these actions and it should not be "second-guessed" by the courts
and (2) the Judiciary's involvement in the dispute would undermine the
United States' ability to speak with "one voice" on an issue of foreign
affairs and national security. See El-Shifa Phann. Indus. Co., 559 F.3d at
583-84 ("[C]ourts are not a forum for second-guessing the merits of
foreign policy and national security decisions[] committed to the political
branches."); Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. at 211 (1962) (noting that resolution
of foreign relations matters "uniquely demand single-voiced statement of
the Government's views"); Whiteman v. Dororheum GmbH & Co KG, 431
F.3d 57, 72 (2d Cir. 2005) ("We further conclude that 'a court's
undertaking independent resolution' of plaintiffs' claims would "express[]
(a] lack of ... respect,aC/ for the foreign policy interests of the United States
....").

c. Venue

i. Under 28 U.S.C. ASS 1391, "a civil action against a foreign state ... may be
brought" either "in the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia" or "in any judicial district in which a substantial part of rhe
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred."
n. In the present case, virtually all of the alleged U.S.-based conduct took
place in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. The
oore of the DNCs claims is that "Russian operatives trespassed onto
computer servers located in Virginia and Washi.ngton, D.C. and stole
information located on those servers." These servers are mentioned nearly
fifty times in the Amended Complaint. Moreover, the Trump Campaign
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was based in Virginia. Messrs. Gates and Manafort are both located in
Virginia. Mr. Kushner is located in the District of Columbia.
iii. By contrast, the only events allegedly occurring in New York are (1) a
meeting at Trump Tower, which has no alJeged connection to the alleged
hacking or the alleged dissemination of information, and (2) an alleged
dinner between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Konstantine Kilimnik. This falls
short of "a substantial part of the events or omissions" alleged in the
present case. Moreover, none of these events constitute acts of the State.

iv. Finally, no claims have been alleged under New York law. By contrast,
the DNC has raised seven distinct claims under D.C. or Virginia law.
v. Accordingly, the case should not be heard in New York.

* * *
For the reasons stated above, the Russian Federation is immune to the subject-matter jurisdiction
of the U.S. District Court. Moreover, the U.S. District Court should reject the DNC's efforts to
distort the meaning of the existing FSJA exceptions and to involve the judiciary in rhis
fundamentally political and diplomatic issue.

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