Insurrection in Washington: Trump can be sued for his role in the attack on the Capitol

Insurrection in Washington: Trump can be sued for his role in the attack on the Capitol

Donald Trump can be sued in civil proceedings by victims of the Capitol assault and cannot hide behind his presidential immunity, the US Department of Justice said in an official document on Thursday.

Police officers and congressmen are demanding damages from the Republican whom they accuse of encouraging his supporters to attack the Capitol on January 6, 2021. In a fiery speech, he called on them to “beat like the devils“against the results of the presidential election that elected officials had to certify that day.

Donald Trump has asked the courts to close these files in the name of the immunity granted to American presidents to protect them from abusive prosecution. For him, his speech fell within the framework of his official functions, which involve speaking on subjects of general interest.

“Incitement to violence” not covered

After debating the arguments for and against at a hearing in December, a federal appeals court sought legal advice from the Justice Department. Without commenting on the merits of the case, he considered that the presidents enjoyed a broad immunity, including for public speeches held as a candidate, but that it could not cover the “incentives“to violence.

As leader of the nation and state, the president has ‘extraordinary power to address his fellow citizens and on their behalf’ but this traditional office is for the purpose of communication and persuasion, not incitement to violence“, write his lawyers, recommending to reject the request of Donald Trump.

If the court of appeal validates this reasoning, the complaints can resume their course. At the same time, Donald Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation, supervised by a special prosecutor, for his role in this assault.

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On the same subject: excerpt from 08/12/2022

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