The Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Thursday that former President Donald Trump can be held liable for the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, according to The Washington Post.
Two police officers, alongside 11 Democratic House members, filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging they have suffered psychological and physical damage in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. Trump stated multiple times, however, that he is covered by absolute immunity as he was on his official duties as president.
“Speaking to the public on matters of public concern is a traditional function of the Presidency, and the outer perimeter of the President’s Office includes a vast realm of such speech,” wrote the DOJ. “But that traditional function is one of public communication. It does not include incitement of imminent private violence.”
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The DOJ agrees that Trump has some protection from the lawsuit but is not sure if whether Trump incited violence on Jan. 6, the New York Post reported.
An appeals court could not determine if Trump was technically doing his job on the day of the riot, where it has been alleged that he incited a violent mob with a political speech challenging the results of the 2020 election, according to the NYP.
“But because actual incitement would be unprotected by absolute immunity even if it came in the context of a speech on matters of public concern, this Court should reject the categorical argument President Trump pressed below and renews on appeal,” according to the DOJ.
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The lawsuit cites a federal civil rights law, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, that allows individuals to be charged for using violence to scare or prevent government officials from carrying out their duties.
On Thursday, Trump responded with a statement:
President Trump’s speech and statements on January 6, 2021, repeatedly called for peace, patriotism, and respect for our men and women of law enforcement. President Trump authorized up to 20,000 National Guard troops to ensure peace and safety on January 6, 2021, only to have that offer rejected by Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The D.C. Courts should rule in favor of President Trump in short order and dismiss these frivolous lawsuits. The Department of Justice has rightfully agreed that presidential immunity is broad and absolute. If it were not, Joe Biden would be personally liable for the disasters in Afghanistan, our Southern Border, record drug use causing massive destruction of families and lives, and many other terrible crises that he has caused. Additionally, other Presidents throughout history would be held responsible for catastrophes they potentially may not be responsible for. All witch hunts and hoaxes have to end!
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