Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson Sues Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys for Role in Capitol Insurrection (Video)

Rep. Bennie Thompson. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
Rep. Bennie Thompson. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

*A Democratic congressman accused Donald Trump in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol and of conspiring with his lawyer and extremist groups to try and prevent the Senate from certifying the presidential election results for Joe Biden.

The lawsuit from Mississippi’s Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is believed to be the first filed by a member of Congress. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

The case also names as defendants the Republican former president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and groups including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, extremist organizations that had members charged by the Justice Department with taking part in the siege.

The suit, the first of an expected flood of legal action over the Jan. 6 riot, was filed in federal court in Washington under a Reconstruction-era law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. Passed in 1871, it authorized President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations and use military force to suppress the KKK.

Presidents are historically afforded broad immunity from lawsuits for actions they take in their role as commander in chief. But the lawsuit filed Tuesday was brought against Trump in his personal capacity and alleges that none of the behavior at issue had to do with his responsibilities as president.

Below, Rep. Thompson spoke to CBSN last month before Trump’s impeachment trial about being one of five House committee chairs calling on the FBI to brief them on its investigation into the Capitol Riot, which he called “an act of domestic terrorism.”

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