No Immuniity: Trump Can Face Civil Suits Tied to Jan. 6 Riot

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Former President Trump is having a tough time as he moves to dismiss several civil lawsuits filed against him for his conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021, rioting at the U.S. Capitol.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Trump does not have immunity privilege in those lawsuits, rejecting his arguments for “absolute immunity.”

“His briefs advance only a single, categorical argument: A President is always immune from any civil suits based on his ‘speech on matters of public concern,'” the DOJ wrote in a Thursday filing, “even if that speech also constitutes incitement to imminent private violence.”

Trump is currently appealing the case to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after a lower court ruled against his immunity claim.

The former president faces lawsuits from members of Congress who were threatened by mobs of pro-Trump supporters on Jan. 6, as well as Capitol Police officers who defended the building that day.

The suits seek to hold Trump liable for physical and psychological injuries.

The DOJ does not back a claim from 11 members of Congress who allege Trump’s speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 incited a riot.

Instead, the federal agency simply notes traditional presidential speech immunity covers communication and persuasion but not necessarily incitement of imminent violence.

The DOJ brief urged the court to move forward in the case against Trump but to exercise caution on a ruling that would chill future presidential communication.

This civil case is separate from the special counsel appointed by the DOJ to investigate whether Trump broke any laws related to the Jan. 6 rioting.

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