Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the Democrat lawmaker embroiled in a Chinese spy saga who served as a House manager in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment, filed a lawsuit Friday against Trump and others in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol incident.
Swalwell, who has been dogged by the story that he was targeted by an alleged Chinese spy and now faces Republican challenges to his suitability to continue serving on a House homeland security committee, filed the lawsuit against the former president, his son, a lawyer, and a Republican congressman whose actions Swalwell claims spurred a “violent mob” to attack the Capitol.
The suit (pdf), filed in federal court in Washington, makes allegations under eight counts, including: conspiracy to violate civil rights, negligence, incitement to riot, disorderly conduct and terrorism, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Swalwell claims that Trump, his son Donald Jr., former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), 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.”
In a statement, Swalwell said all four defendants “assembled, inflamed and incited the mob, and as such are wholly responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”
The lawsuit basically makes the case that both Trumps, Giuliani, and Brooks spread claims of election fraud and by so doing they helped to rile up thousands of people who breached the Capitol.
Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller responded to the suit, labeling it a “witch hunt” and calling Swalwell a “low-life” with “no credibility.”
“Now, after failing miserably with two impeachment hoaxes,” Swalwell is attacking “our greatest President with yet another witch hunt,” Miller said. “It’s a disgrace that a compromised Member of Congress like Swalwell still sits on the House Intelligence Committee.”
Harmeet K. Dhillon, an attorney who is a partner at a law firm with former Trump lawyer Ron Coleman, commented on Swalwell’s suit, calling it “patently frivolous.”
“Can we citizens sue Swalwell for conspiring with a Chinese spy? I mean it’s at least negligent, right? Subverts our democracy, etc. The possibilities are endless,” she wrote in a tweet.
A report by Axios on Dec. 7 claimed that the alleged Chinese spy, Christine Fang, built up an extensive network of contacts with up-and-coming politicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Swalwell. The report said Swalwell cut ties with her after investigators gave him a “defensive briefing,” and that he provided information about her to the FBI.
Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that he didn’t do anything wrong and accused Republicans of trying to weaponize the Axios report.
“I was told about this individual and I offered to help,” he told CNN. “All I did was cooperate, and the FBI said that.”
But national security concerns have persisted, given Swalwell’s membership on the House committee, whose members have access to sensitive classified information.
“This breach of our national security is especially concerning,” wrote more than a dozen House Republicans, in a Feb. 23 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
They called on Wray to brief the Homeland Security panel about “Rep. Swalwell’s relationship with Fang and any potential exposure of classified information” so that its members can consider whether to limit Swalwell’s future access to classified information.
Swalwell’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times after the Axios report was published.
Meanwhile, in his suit against Trump and others, Swalwell seeks relief in the form of “actual money damages” and “punitive damages” in amounts to be determined at trial, along with coverage of his attorney fees.
Swalwell also wants the court to order Trump to have to notify him in writing a week ahead of any planned rally to give him time potentially to try and block it “to prevent further violence or disruption to the proper functioning of the federal government.”
The Democrat lawmaker is demanding a trial by jury.