The NAACP, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, and civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll figure if Republicans won’t let their ovaries hang and impeach the voice of the insurrection, then they will just have to sue his ass and his supporters’ untanned asses.
So a lawsuit was filed Tuesday morning in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming that the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, former President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani incited a riot on Jan. 6 to keep Congress from certifying election results, Politico reports.
The lawsuit “claims they did so in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction-era statute designed to protect both formerly enslaved African Americans and lawmakers in Congress from white supremacist violence,” according to Politico.
“If we don’t put a check on the spread of domestic terrorism, it will consume this nation and transform it to something that none of us recognize,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson told Politico. “We must, as a nation, prevent the spread of this type of boldness where [insurrectionists] will go to our U.S. Capitol and seek an act of treason.”
Reps. Hank Johnson and Bonnie Watson Coleman are expected to join the litigation as plaintiffs in the coming days.
The lawsuit recounts Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riots, building a case against him in similar fashion to House impeachment managers. It cites Trump’s remarks during “Save America” rally as evidence that he mobilized and directed insurrectionists to storm the Capitol. After his supporters entered the halls of Congress, the lawsuit alleges, Giuliani called lawmakers individually, asking them to try to “slow down” the Electoral College vote count.
The parties’ decision to file litigation after the impeachment trial is in large part a response to the Senate’s acquittal of the former president on Feb. 13 — so far, no other civil rights groups have pursued litigation against Trump for his role in the riots. Filing suit now, Thompson and the NAACP argue, will help prevent a second insurrection.
The NAACP has already joined the growing number of civil rights organizations that have been working to protect the Black vote. Now they’ve added domestic terrorism to their cause.
“You look at what took place in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, those were acts of domestic terrorism against citizens. It was based on race,” Johnson said. “They were acts of domestic terrorism, based on one’s belief of who should be legitimate citizens and who are not.”
Trump and his team of white supremacists have claimed that the speeches made on Jan. 6 are protected by free speech under the First Amendment. They also claim that during Trump’s fire and brimstone rambling that he also called for peace, which probably got lost in his demands to “fight like hell” especially after claiming for months that the election had been stolen.
“While the majority of Republicans in the Senate abdicated their responsibility to hold the President accountable, we must hold him accountable for the insurrection that he so blatantly planned,” Thompson said in a statement, Politico reports. “Failure to do so will only invite this type of authoritarianism for the anti-democratic forces on the far right that are so intent on destroying our country.”