Trump lawyer: Toss lawsuit by congressman who 'suffered severe distress' at Capitol riot

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., as House impeachment manager on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (C-SPAN video screenshot)

A lawsuit by Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the organizers of the Democrats’ two failed impeach-and-remove campaigns against President Trump, in which he claims he suffered emotionally during the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol, should be dismissed, a lawyer for Trump has argued.

For one thing, lawyer Jesse Binnall explained in a court filing, the claims violate “well-established, important, constitutional doctrines” including the First Amendment.

Secondly, Trump, as president, has “absolute immunity” for the proceedings given his tenure in the Oval Office, the lawyer said.

The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday on the arguments against Swalwell’s claims for damages because of his suffering on that day in January, when some members of a crowd broke into the building and vandalized parts.

They were enraged because of what they perceived, based on evidence from witnesses and more, of fraud during the 2020 election, which was given to Joe Biden based on a handful of challenged votes in a small number of battleground states.

Those issues remain under investigation in states like Arizona, Georgia and Michigan where audits of the election results are under way, or are being sought.

Election officials have said their own results are perfectly accurate and there’s no need to look into what they did during the election, which included, in some states, turning over some operations to special-interest groups designated by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who contributed $400 million to fund election operations in various states.

Binnall said, “Plaintiff’s theories run directly afoul of well-established, important, constitutional doctrines. Despite his pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, Mr. Swalwell comes to this court directly attacking First Amendment doctrines which lie at the heart of the uniquely American traditions of free speech, free assembly, and freedom to petition the government without fear of reprisal.”

“The claims against former President Trump directly contravene the absolute immunity conveyed on the president by the Constitution as a key principle of separation of powers. … The case should be dismissed,” the lawyer wrote.

Swalwell had sued the former president and several others claiming they were involved of a “conspiracy to violate civil rights” and terrorism, according to the original lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington.

“The peaceful transfer of power is a sacrament of American democracy. Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., his advisor Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks, together with many others, defiled that sacrament through a campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric, which led to the sacking of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Swalwell claimed.

He said he sustained emotional distress.

“[Swalwell] watched as Capitol Police officers drew their weapons, barricaded entrances, and ordered the Plaintiff and other members of Congress to seek shelter, put on gas masks, and take cover in case there was gunfire. The Plaintiff prepared himself for possible hand-to-hand combat as he took off his jacket and tie and searched for makeshift instruments of self-defense,” it alleged.

“The Plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress,” it continued.

President Donald J. Trump waves and gestures to the crowd upon his arrival to Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland, Texas, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, where he was greeted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Texas Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Republican Chairman Allen West, U.S. Representative candidates, and members of the community. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Another Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, earlier sued Trump claiming the organizations Proud Boys and Oath Keepers acted with Trump and Giuliani on the violence.

It’s not the only legal action involving Swalwell in Washington these days.

The American Center for Law and Justice is suing the federal government to obtain information about Swalwell’s ties to a Chinese spy.

Lawsuits already have been filed against the National Security Agency, the office of the director of national intelligence and the State Department. And preparations are under way to bring the FBI into court.

“President Biden’s Deep State agencies are already refusing to cooperate with us to expose government corruption, even with our national security at risk,” the ACLJ said.

“We’ve spent years warning you about the Deep State’s shredding of the Constitution. The actions of Deep State operatives have placed the safety and security of Americans in jeopardy. And now under President Joe Biden, the Deep State bureaucracy is being further empowered – even reinvigorated – to undermine everything we’ve fought for.”

Swalwell was a House manager in both of the impeachment trials against Trump.

Then he was found to have had a direct connection with a Chinese communist spy at about the time he was named as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Axios reported the spy, Christine Fang, known as Fang Fang, took part in fundraising activity for Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign, according to a Bay Area political operative and a current U.S. intelligence official.

Swalwell’s office, Axios said, was directly aware of the activities, the political operative said. But the operative insisted there was no evidence of illegal contributions.

The report said Fang helped place at least one intern in Swalwell’s office and interacted with the California congressman at multiple events over several years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted she was aware of the relationship but said she has “no concerns” about it.

“We have many concerns, as should the speaker and every other elected official,” the ACLJ said. That’s why it filed four Freedom of Information Act requests with the FBI, State, NSA and others demanding any and all documents about the connection between Swalwell and Fang.

“Rep. Swalwell’s association with this Chinese national may have placed the security of America at risk. That should alarm anyone, regardless of their political party,” the organization argued.

The lawsuits followed the refusal of the government agencies to respond to the FOIA requests.

Fox News reported Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, after an FBI briefing, said it was clear that Swalwell should not have access to the nation’s secrets, as he does as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

“I just think there are definitely 200 other Democrats that I know could fill that place,” McCarthy said.

The ACLJ pointed out that Fang “not only has ties to the Chinese Communist Party, she actually works for the Chinese Communist Party in their intelligence department.”

“Remember it was Rep. Swalwell who accused President Trump of betraying our country and of being a Russian agent, telling the mainstream media: ‘Donald Trump works on Russia’s behalf.’ Rep. Swalwell also accused the President’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., of meeting with a Russian spy. Now we see this was a pot-calling-the-kettle-black moment; except in this instance, there is direct evidence of Rep. Swalwell’s misdeeds, as opposed to the Special Counsel’s finding that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” the ACLJ said.

And it gets worse: “Congressman Swalwell didn’t just meet with a Chinese agent once. He had a connection with the Chinese Communist spy at the center of this scandal – named Christine Fang, or Fang Fang. Fang was a fundraiser for Rep. Swalwell as well. She was actually a fundraising bundler for his campaigns – as a college student. How did that not raise suspicion? The hypocrisy is staggering. Rep. Swalwell was among the nastiest, most condescending participants during the whole impeachment process. He was very difficult on a whole host of issues, not the least of which was impeachment,” the ACLJ reported.

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