Dept. of Justice Rejects Trump’s Claims of Lawsuit Immunity

    Dept. of Justice Rejects Trump’s Claims of Lawsuit Immunity
    Last updated Mar 03, 2023
    Image credit: nytimes


    • In reponse to the US Court of Appeal for the DC Circuit’s request for its opinion, the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday filed a brief urging the rejection of former Pres. Trump's claim to automatic immunity from lawsuits filed over his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.[1]
    • In 1982, the US Supreme Court ruled presidents couldn’t be sued for acts they do in an official capacity. Trump has argued this protects him against suits related to the speech he made prior to the Capitol riot, but District Judge Amit Mehta disagreed in February 2022.[1]
    • The DOJ didn't take a position in its brief on whether Trump’s words incited the violence. The brief is also unrelated to a DOJ special counsel investigation into whether Trump committed a crime with his attempts to overturn the 2020 elections results.[2]
    • Trump could be facing several lawsuits, which can be filed because of a statute that allows for damages to be paid when intimidation or force is used to prevent the government from carrying out its duties — in this case, the certification of the 2020 election votes.[3]
    • Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) has filed one of the lawsuits, while a group of House Democrats has filed their own suit, and two police officers — James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby — have also jointly filed a suit.[2]
    • In a possible misunderstanding, Trump posted a statement to social media commending the DOJ for agreeing with his position and calling for “all witch hunts and hoaxes” to end.[4]


    Democratic narrative

    Leave it to Trump to stretch the limits of legal protection beyond its reach. There’s no doubt presidents enjoy a broad amount of immunity, and the DOJ has sided with him in other instances that he sought it. But inspiring violent insurrectionists to ransack the Capitol is a giant step too far. These civil suits deserve to move forward.

    Pro-Trump narrative

    Trump has immunity, and the case against that position is thin. The DOJ isn’t sure if Trump actually incited the violence, and the appeals court didn’t determine whether Trump was actually doing his job while speaking to the protesters — a key point of Trump’s defense. The statute they’re using to go after Trump was meant to stop intimidation from groups like the Ku Klux Klan, not a sitting president.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 38% chance that Trump will win the 2024 US Presidential Election if it's Biden v. Trump, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Political split



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