DOJ Says Trump Can Be Sued Over January 6

The Justice Department (DOJ) said Thursday that former President Donald Trump can be sued in connection to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Attorneys for the DOJ Civil Division filed a court brief in response to the D.C. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking the agency to respond to Trump’s claim of absolute immunity in a bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits brought against him.

“Speaking to the public on matters of public concern is a traditional function of the Presidency, and the outer perimeter of the President’s Office includes a vast realm of such speech,” government lawyers wrote.

“But that traditional function is one of public communication,” they added. “It does not include incitement of imminent private violence.”

Two Capitol Police officers and 11 Democrats have sued Trump in an attempt to hold him liable for the events of January 6, 2021, when a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers who were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.


A district court concluded that plaintiffs’ complaints “plausibly” allege that Trump’s speech at a rally on the White House Ellipse during which he encouraged supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol “precipitated” the violence that followed, the DOJ lawyers wrote.

“The United States expresses no view on that conclusion, or on the truth of the allegations in plaintiffs’ complaints,” the government lawyers added. “But in the United States’ view, such incitement of imminent private violence would not be within the outer perimeter of the Office of the President of the United States.”

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