As stated by the Justice Department on Thursday, the former president can be sued by injured Capitol Police officers and Democratic lawmakers over the January 6, 2021, protest at the U.S. Capitol. The federal court case could test Trump's legal vulnerability and the limits of executive power.
The lawsuits – filed by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell and two police officers, and later joined by other House Democrats – argue that Trump and others made "false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendant's express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol."
Trump lawyers are likely to argue that he made no such calls for violence and will likely show videos of his January 6th speech where he urged the crown to protest peacefully.
Christian Adams is a former Justice Department Attorney who is now chief counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. He tells AFN there is "some" basis – though not a "strong" basis – in what the DOJ has said.
"Remember, there's a difference between some and strong – it's not the same thing," he explains. "Just because I say there's some basis doesn't mean it's meritorious – and it's going to require a lot of facts that have to be presented to make it fly."
In essence, says the attorney, "it's sort of like you have to draw an inside straight to make this work, but it's not inconceivable."
Ironically, Adams suggests the lawsuits could help Trump politically. "I think going after him and doing everything they can to attack him only makes him a more attractive candidate to his supporters," he offers. "For example, I have evidence of this: The biggest jump that Trump had in the polls was after the raid at Mar-a-Lago."
So, he concludes that the more the DOJ does to Trump, "the more popular he gets with his core supporters."