The First Post-Impeachment Lawsuit Against Trump Has Been Filed
Ironically, he is being charged with violating a statute that was inspired by the Ku Klux Klan
You know, if I didn’t know better, I might agree with Trump’s paranoid fantasy about a witch hunt. Not satisfied with the verdict in his second Senate impeachment trial, the NAACP on behalf of Representative Benny Thompson, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has filed a federal lawsuit against Trump for inciting the insurrection against the Capitol on January 6.
The lawsuit is based on the provisions of what’s known as the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 which was passed after the Civil War to prevent violence or intimidation against members of Congress and other Federal officials who are carrying out their constitutional duties.
The reason why I, and other people who live in the New York City area, are all giggling is because of Trump’s well-known racism. He and his father were sued in the 1970s for refusing to rent to Black people. Trump also called for the death penalty for the Central Park 5, a group of Black teenagers who were exonerated in 2002 for the 1989 rape and beating of a (White) jogger in Central Park.
Now, if they could just find a Mexican or two to also join their lawsuit, you would have the makings of Trump’s worst nightmare.
Other defendants named in the lawsuit are Rudy Giuliani (of course), The Proud Boys and The Oath Keepers, both violent right wing extremist groups. You can read a copy of the lawsuit here.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the argument of whether or not you can prosecute a sitting president for personal actions that have nothing to do with his official duties. This will be an interesting point for the courts to decide. Right now the only thing protecting sitting presidents from being criminally prosecuted while in office is a 1973 Justice Department memo that forbids it on the grounds that criminal prosecution would prevent a president from carrying out his constitutional duties.
The current lawsuit gets around this by claiming that Trump’s actions in inciting the riot didn’t fall under his responsibilities as president and therefore were personal actions, not covered by the memo.
Sounds like they are splitting hairs in their efforts to bring Trump to justice.
Trump’s defense has argued that Trump sincerely believed that he won the election and that his speeches about the stolen election were therefore protected speech. They claim that at no time did he directly call for his supporters to commit violence.
Giuliani is accused of calling individual members of Congress and asking them to slow down the Electoral College vote count even as the Capitol was under siege. Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me either. Maybe he stood in the sun too long during his press conference at the Four Seasons Landscaping Company.
It’s a little sad though. I remember him from his better days first as a feared prosecutor and then a tough mayor of New York City. This version of him I don’t even recognize. Some days I wonder if he has been replaced by bumbling body double.
The lawsuit charges the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers with conspiracy to incite insurrection.
This is just the first of many expected lawsuits to be filed against Trump by members of Congress who fled in fear of their lives on January 6, as well as by law enforcement officers who were injured during the insurrection.
Also expected, a lawsuit on behalf of the District of Columbia charging Trump with incitement to riot, a misdemeanor.
And that’s just DC. Georgia is gearing up to charge Trump with election interference over his phone call asking Georgia officials to “find” votes for him. New York State is also busy readying lawsuits charging Trump with bank, insurance and tax fraud and falsification of business records. And let us not forget the civil suits for defamation by E. Jean Carroll and Summer Zervos, both accusing him of defamation for denying that he sexually assaulted them.
Trump is going to be a busy boy. He won’t have nearly as much time for golf or a Revenge Tour as he thought he would.