House Impeachment Manager Swalwell Sues Trump, Allies Over Capitol Attack

House Impeachment Manager Swalwell Sues Trump, Allies Over Capitol Attack

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., arrives on Capitol Hill Feb. 13,  the fifth day of the Senate Impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. (Stefani Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Eric Swalwell, who was a House manager in Donald Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial, filed a lawsuit Friday against the former president, his son, lawyer, and a Republican congressman whose actions the suit claims led to January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The California Democrat’s suit was filed in federal court in Washington. It alleges a conspiracy to violate civil rights, along with negligence, inciting a riot and inflicting emotional distress. It follows a similar suit filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson last month in an attempt to hold the former president accountable in some way for his actions Jan. 6, following his Senate acquittal.

Swalwell charges that Trump, his son Donald Jr., along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, had made “false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendant’s express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol.”

Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller called Swalwell a “low-life” with “no credibility.”

“Now, after failing miserably with two impeachment hoaxes,” Swalwell is attacking “our greatest president with yet another witch hunt,” Miller said. “It’s a disgrace that a compromised Member of Congress like Swalwell still sits on the House Intelligence Committee.”

The lawsuit accuses the former president of inciting the riot, using much of the same playbook used by Swalwell and others during Trump’s impeachment trial.

“Those with knowledge claimed that during this moment of national horror, Trump was ‘delighted’ and was ‘confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was.’ Others described Trump as ‘borderline enthusiastic’ about the unfolding violence,” according to the suit.

Unlike Thompson’s lawsuit — filed against Trump, Giulian, and some far-right extremist groups whose members are alleged to have participated in the insurrection — Swalwell’s did not specify whether he was filing in his personal capacity or official, which would require additional approvals from the House and involve House attorneys.

Both lawsuits cite a federal civil rights law that was enacted to counter the Ku Klux Klan's intimidation of officials.Presidents are historically afforded broad immunity from lawsuits for actions they take in their role as commander in chief. But the lawsuit, like the one by Thompson, was brought against Trump in his personal, not official, capacity.

Swalwell also describes in detail being trapped in the House chamber with many other members of Congress as plainclothes Capitol Police officers barricaded the doors and tried to fend off the mob at gunpoint.The suit seeks unspecified damages and Swalwell also wants a court to order all of the defendants to provide written notice to him a week before they plan to have a rally in Washington that would draw more than 50 people.



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