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NAACP lawsuit will put Trump "out of business," Congressman Bennie Thompson says

NAACP sues Trump over Capitol riot
NAACP sues Trump over Capitol riot 17:24

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the Democratic lawmaker who is partnering with the NAACP in a lawsuit against former President Trump and Rudy Giuliani, says he is looking forward to his day in court.

"Donald Trump has to go away. If he doesn't, we will put him out of business," Thompson, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, told CBSN in an interview Wednesday. He spoke along with NAACP President Derrick Johnson about the legal action they are pursuing against those they want held accountable for the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Thompson, represented by the NAACP, filed the lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Mr. Trump, Giuliani and the far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers conspired to incite the attack while lawmakers were gathered to reaffirm President Biden's Electoral College victory. 

The lawsuit accuses them of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits two or more people from conspiring to "prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat," any office-holder from performing their duties.

"The act was put in place to protect those members of Congress so that we can actually have a democracy that stands up to the promise of the Constitution, without individuals being in fear of their intimidation or threat to their lives," Johnson said, adding that the Capitol riots "fit perfectly" into why the legislation was passed.

Thompson compared modern-day extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to the Ku Klux Klan, claiming the groups "morphed out of the Klan connection."

"They tried to do everything to impede people of color and progressive people from asserting their rights as American citizens, and so this is an opportunity — from a punitive standpoint in this lawsuit — to put them out of business," he said.

Mr. Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial after House impeachment managers spent four days presenting evidence tying the former president's false claims of a "stolen" election to the violent events of January 6. Mr. Trump issued a statement saying he "did not incite or conspire to incite" the violence at the Capitol.

Thompson said the arguments and evidence brought by his House colleagues "justify this lawsuit." He pointed to repeated Twitter posts from Mr. Trump telling followers to come to Washington on January 6, culminating in a fiery speech during which the then-president told his followers, "We're going to walk down to the Capitol" as lawmakers gathered for the vote count.

"The only thing that was scheduled to occur on January 6 was the certification of the election," Thompson added.

Despite the former president's acquittal in the Senate, Johnson said he's confident their case will stand up in a court of law.

"It is a different standard, is not based on partisanship," he said. "We believe that there are enough facts, video and statements directly from the president — whether given in speeches or through his tweets — that will show conclusively that there was a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power in this country."

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