Donald Trump likely heaved a very big sigh of relief over the weekend when, despite literally siccing a fascist mob on the U.S. Capitol to burn down democracy in his name, he escaped any and all responsibility for his actions. That sigh was presumably extra heavy given that (1) his crack legal team basically started the trial by suggesting the DOJ should arrest him and (2) he is now free to torment the country with threats to run again in 2024. Unfortunately for Trump, he is far from out of the woods legally speaking, he’s very likely guilty of numerous crimes, and unlike the U.S. Senate, actual courts of law are not comprised of juries of sycophants terrified to piss off his supporters.
On Tuesday, the ex-president got a taste of what’s to come when the NAACP, on behalf of Mississippi representative Bennie Thompson, filed a federal lawsuit against him and Rudy Giuliani, accusing the duo of conspiring to incite the January 6 riot. The suit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages and also names the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as defendants, alleges that Trump, Giuliani, and members of the far-right groups plotted to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, which the NAACP says violates the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. (The Act was designed to protect the rights of newly freed slaves as well fight attempts to terrorize elected officials, which Trump and his right-wing mob clearly tried to do.) “January 6th was one of the most shameful days in our country’s history, and it was instigated by the president himself,” Thompson said in a statement. “His gleeful support of violent white supremacists led to a breach of the Capitol that put my life, and that of my colleagues, in grave danger.” Asked how he plans to prove Trump incited the attack, Thompson told MSNBC: “The Trump administration encouraged people to come to Washington on January 6 saying it will be wild…. it’s clear that in his speech he directed the people at the Eclipse to go to the Capitol and let your feelings be known, and that’s what they did. They had no permit to go. He directed them to go, and they followed him, and the subsequent actions from that, we all saw it play out before our very eyes.” (Obviously, if he needs other evidence, the House’s impeachment managers have plenty of it.)
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio told The Wall Street Journal that the suit is frivolous but looked forward to the attention it will bring him. Neither the Oath Keepers nor Rudy Giuliani responded to requests for comments. Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, told the Journal, “President Trump has been acquitted in the Democrats’ latest Impeachment Witch Hunt, and the facts are irrefutable. President Trump did not plan, produce or organize the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse. President Trump did not incite or conspire to incite any violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.”
Thompson’s lawsuit, though, is just one of many that Trump will likely be facing in the coming days, weeks, months, and years, at a time when virtually no one wants to represent him, hence the the personal injury lawyer who specializes in dog bites. Other legal issues he’ll probably be dealing with include but are not limited to:
- The call he made to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who Trump pressured to “find“ enough votes to overturn the election results and seemingly threatened, saying failure to do so would be a “criminal offense” and “You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you.” Earlier this month, Georgia officials announced investigations into the call, one of which is a criminal inquiry. “Anyone that violates the law will be prosecuted, no matter what their social stature is, no matter what their economics are, no matter what their race is or their gender. We’re not going to treat anyone differently,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said last week.A pair of New York state investigations into alleged bank and insurance fraud by the Trump Organization, being pursued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James, the latter of whom has questioned Eric Trump under oath. (Ivanka Trump, who does not appear to have been deposed nevertheless is extremely testy about the suggestion anyone in her family committed fraud, calling the inquiry “harassment pure and simple” and “100% motivated by politics, publicity, and rage.”)Possible state and federal charges related to the January 6 insurrection (in the days after the riot, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said Trump could face prosecution and that his office was working with federal prosecutors on the case).A separate lawsuit by Racine’s office, which has accused the Trump Organization and Presidential Inaugural Committee of “grossly overpaying“ to use space at Trump’s D.C. hotel for his 2017 inauguration. (Ivanka was deposed in that case and similarly claimed the whole thing is a witch hunt, which, you might have noticed, is sort of a theme with these people.)A defamation suit by by author E. Jean Carroll, who alleged Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s, which he claimed was a lie, as he often does when accused of sexual misconduct. (Trump attempted to use the Justice Department to try and kill the suit, which is obviously no longer an option.)A defamation case from Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos accusing Trump of lying about sexual misconduct. Trump’s lawyers previously claimed the Constitution gives him immunity from civil suits filled in New York state an argument that, again, he can no longer hide behind.A claim by his Mar-a-Lago neighbors he’s in violation of an agreement promising not to live there full-time.Who knows what else!
Anyway, it’s a pretty inopportune time to be a guy known for stiffing his lawyers on legal fees, among other things!
If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here to subscribe.
— Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Final, Frenzied Days— Donald Trump Refused to Take ‘No’ From Women—And Then From America Itself— How Trump’s COVID Chaos Drowned the FDA in Junk Science— Inside the Epic Bromance of Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump— After Wrecking the Country, Jared and Ivanka Plot Vacation Plans— Can Trump’s Cult of Followers Be Deprogrammed? — Trump Makes an Exit With His Brand in Tatters— From the Archive: How Donald Trump Turned Palm Beach Against Him— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.