- Rep. Eric Swalwell filed a lawsuit against Trump and his allies over the Capitol attack.
- The suit accuses the defendants of incitement to riot, among other charges.
- Swalwell alleges that Trump and his allies caused severe emotional distress to Congress.
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Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a former House impeachment manager, on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and a number of his close allies – Donald Trump Jr., Rudolph W. Giuliani, and GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama – over the Capitol attack.
The suit accuses Trump and his allies of “incitement to riot,” and alleges that they violated an anti-terrorism act in Washington, DC, among other charges.
“As a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendants’ express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the US Capitol,” the suit stated. “Many participants in the attack have since revealed that they were acting on what they believed to be former president Trump’s orders in service of their country.”
“The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ unlawful actions. As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed,” the suit went on to say. “Trump directly incited the violence at the Capitol that followed and then watched approvingly as the building was overrun.”
Swalwell accuses the defendants of inflicting severe emotional distress on members of Congress, and states that they aided and abetted violent insurrectionists. The suit outlines how Trump and his allies stoked the riot with false claims about the election being “stolen.”
“The Defendants, in short, convinced the mob that something was occurring that – if actually true – might indeed justify violence to some, and then sent that mob to the Capitol with violence-laced calls for immediate action,” the suit said.
Swalwell’s suit is the second major lawsuit filed in a federal court by a House Democrat against Trump and people close to him in relation to the Capitol riot. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi in February filed a suit that alleged Trump and Giuliani conspired with far-right groups to incite the Capitol insurrection.
Trump was impeached over the Capitol attack in mid-January, but was acquitted in the Senate last month. Swalwell was an impeachment manager in Trump’s second impeachment proceedings over the January 6 riot. After Trump was acquitted, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the former president could still be held accountable by the criminal justice system or face “civil litigation.” Swalwell’s suit cited these remarks from McConnell.
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The former president, Trump Jr., and Giuliani did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.
But Trump spokesperson Jason Miller in response to the suit told the Washington Post, “Eric Swalwell is a low-life with no credibility.”
Brooks denounced Swalwell and the lawsuit in a statement provided to Insider by his office.
“Socialist Eric Swalwell’s frivolous lawsuit is a meritless ploy by a man who betrayed his county by bedding a Communist Chinese spy while serving on the Intelligence Committee that hears America’s highest classified security secrets,” Brooks said. “I make no apologies whatsoever for fighting for accurate and honest elections. In sum, I wear Communist-sympathizer Swalwell’s scurrilous and malicious lawsuit like a badge of courage.”
“Under no circumstances will Swalwell, or any other Socialist, stop me from fighting for America,” Brooks added.
Swalwell does not identify as a socialist, nor is he widely considered to be among the more left-leaning Democrats in Congress.