Swalwell, who served as one of the House managers in Trump’s second impeachment trial, filed the suit Friday in a federal court and alleges the four men’s actions led to the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
He says the attack on the Capitol was a “direct response” to Trump’s calls for violence and their “false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft.”
The lawsuit alleges a conspiracy to violate civil rights, along with negligence, inciting a riot and inflicting emotional distress.
Similar to the case laid out in the impeachment trial, the lawsuit uses Trump’s own words to accuse him of inciting the riot, arguing that his continuous lies – and the lies of his allies – stirred up his supporters, culminating on Jan. 6 when he called for them to act during a morning rally and then failed to react when the crowd turned violent, forcing lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence along with their staffers and other people working in the building to either flee or hide.
“Those with knowledge claimed that during this moment of national horror, Trump was ‘delighted’ and was ‘confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was.’ Others described Trump as ‘borderline enthusiastic’ about the unfolding violence,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit, similar to one filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson last month, cites a federal civil rights law that was written to stop the Ku Klux Klan’s intimidation of officials.
It is not clear whether Swalwell is filing the suit in a personal or official capacity.
Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller called Swalwell a “low-life” with “no credibility” and dismissed the suit as a “witch hunt.”
Five people died as a result of the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.