Trump claims 'absolute immunity' from Swalwell lawsuit over Jan. 6 riot

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE on Monday argued that he possesses “absolute immunity” from a lawsuit filed against him by Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation MORE (D-Calif.) over his role in the Jan. 6 riot.

In a 49-page court filing, Trump urged a federal judge to dismiss Swalwell's March lawsuit, claiming that the statements he made as president in the run-up to the deadly breach of the U.S. Capitol are beyond the court’s reach. 

“The president’s absolute immunity forecloses the jurisdiction of this court,” reads Trump’s filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. 


The Democratic lawmaker’s suit accuses Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksWatchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments Jan. 6 panel seeks records of those involved in 'Stop the Steal' rally Jan. 6 panel to ask for preservation of phone records of GOP lawmakers who participated in Trump rally: report MORE (R-Ala.) and Trump lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRoger Stone served with Capitol riot lawsuit during radio interview FEC finds Twitter didn't break law by blocking spread of Hunter Biden story Juan Williams: The toxic legacy of Trump's corruption MORE of inciting the Jan. 6 riot and conspiring to prevent Congress from certifying President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE’s election win.

Despite losing handily to Biden, Trump has repeatedly lied about the 2020 election being stolen from him. 

He and his allies failed to notch any meaningful court wins in the more than 60 post-election lawsuits they filed and were later unsuccessful in putting forth a slate of “alternate” electors that would install Trump for a second White House term.

Trump, in his Monday court filing, defended his post-election conduct and claimed that his challenges to the election results were “hardly unique” compared to past disputes over presidential election results.  

“While holding that office, former President Trump was free to advocate for the appointment and certification of electors," Trump's filing reads, "just as he was entitled to advocate for the passage or defeat of a constitutional amendment, or the reconsideration of a congressional act over his veto even though the President does not directly participate in those congressional acts."


The brief also urged that the suit against Trump Jr. should be dismissed and raised several additional arguments, including that Swalwell lacks a legal right to sue and that the defendants’ rhetoric was protected speech.

Each defendant was among the speakers at a pro-Trump rally that immediately preceded the deadly Capitol breach. The lawsuit depicts the incendiary rally speeches as a tipping point that culminated a months-long disinformation campaign to push the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

“The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ unlawful actions,” Swalwell’s March complaint states. “As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”