“Take off the f-ing mags,” Trump reportedly said. “They’re not here to hurt me.”
A lawyer filing a lawsuit against Trump and others on behalf of 10 Democratic House members, Joseph Sellers, said the testimony could bolster their case because it supports the idea that Trump was aware violence was likely. when he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol.
“The testimony that came today, I think, was very powerful confirmation that Trump knew and expected that the crowd that was assembled was going to engage in violent action directed at the Capitol with the intent of ‘interfere with the ability to ratify election results,’ Sellers said in an interview.
The new information also appears to align with US District Court Judge Amit Mehta’s explanation of why he was refusing Trump’s offer to dismiss three of the lawsuits. Mehta said it was plausible that Trump condoned the violence on Jan. 6 by combining his public urging of the crowd to march to the Capitol and his subsequent resistance to issuing a statement calling on his supporters to retreat.
Sellers said the reported exchanges with Trump about weapons in the crowd were “highly relevant” to the civil lawsuits and reinforced other indications that Trump intended to use violence and threats to intimidate people. members of Congress.
“This evidence goes a long way to confirming that was the purpose of Trump’s actions,” Sellers added.
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a message seeking comment on the article.
Trump’s strongest defense against lawsuits may be his claim that he was acting in his official capacity as president during his Jan. 6 speech and related activities. His lawyers claimed he was entitled to absolute immunity in cases as a result.
Mehta rejected that argument, but Trump appealed his decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Arguments on the appeal are expected in the fall, but if either side tries to take the issue to the Supreme Court, it could be more than a year before the cases come to fruition. enter an investigation phase, if they go that far.
Hutchinson’s testimony, along with that of witnesses in previous House hearings on Jan. 6, has led to new calls for Attorney General Merrick Garland to file criminal charges against Trump. However, this type of prosecution comes up against a series of potential obstacles that are not present in civil cases.
‘The Department of Justice must prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a significantly greater burden than in civil suits’, where Trump’s liability only needs to be proven as more likely than not .