Mississippi Democrat Congressman Bennie Thompsons has filed a federal lawsuit accusing former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and of conspiring with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and extremist groups such the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.
Thompson is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
“The carefully orchestrated series of events that unfolded at the Save America rally and the storming of the Capitol was no accident or coincidence,” the lawsuit states. “It was the intended and foreseeable culmination of a carefully coordinated campaign to interfere with the legal process required to confirm the tally of votes cast in the Electoral College.”
Trump was acquitted over the weekend in the Impeachment Trial in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 57-43, failing to get the required 2/3 majority needed to convict.
This lawsuit by Thompson seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages. It is being brought forward using a provision of the1871 Ku Klux Klan Act which was passed in response to KKK violence and prohibits violence or intimidation meant to prevent Congress or other federal officials from carrying out their constitutional duties.
“The Defendants each intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States,” the lawsuit said. “Pursuing a purpose shared by Defendants Trump and Giuliani as well as Defendant Proud Boys, Defendant Oath Keepers played a leadership role of the riotous crowd and provided military-style assistance sufficient to overcome any Capitol Police resistance.”
In the wake of the impeachment trial, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to speak on the liability Trump could face even out of office for his actions while serving as President. Thompson’s lawsuit quoted McConnell saying, “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.”
Thompson’s lawsuit says Trump and Giuliani repeatedly sought to discredit the election results even as courts and state election officials rejected their claims. The suit says the two portrayed the election as stolen, adding that Trump “endorsed rather than discouraged” threats of violence from his angry supporters in the weeks prior to the Capitol riot.