In a significant ruling, a U.S. appeals court has determined that former President Donald Trump is not shielded from civil lawsuits regarding his involvement in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. The court rejected Trump’s argument that, as president, he should enjoy immunity from litigation. Instead, the court held that Trump’s actions were carried out “in his personal capacity as a presidential candidate.”
This decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for multiple cases against Trump in the Washington, DC, federal court related to the 2020 election, as reported by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz. Trump is currently facing legal action from Capitol Hill police officers who were assaulted by his supporters on January 6th. Additionally, Democratic members of the House have filed lawsuits accusing Trump of jeopardizing their safety on that fateful day.
Polantz emphasized the groundbreaking nature of the court’s decision, stating that it establishes new legal precedent surrounding the presidency. The distinction drawn by the three-judge panel in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is crucial; they underscored the difference between campaign actions and presidential actions. Notably, actions taken by the president while campaigning for reelection, such as the rally on January 6th, can be regarded as campaign actions. This opens the door for lawsuits related to Trump’s conduct during that rally, including allegations of incitement due to his encouragement for supporters to go to the Capitol.
“And what it is that the president does while he is campaigning for reelection, including that rally on January 6th, that can be considered a campaign action. And that is something that you can move forward with lawsuits against,” she added, noting that Trump’s insistence for his supporters to go to the Capitol that day can now be litigated in court as incitement.
This development adds a layer of complexity to Trump’s legal challenges, allowing litigants to pursue claims against him for actions taken in his personal capacity during the critical period of the 2020 election certification.
BREAKING: A federal appeals court has ruled that Donald Trump *can* be sued for inciting the Jan. 6 crowd. He is not "immune" because he was president, the circuit rules.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 1, 2023