The Justice Department said Tuesday that it would not support a claim by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) that he was acting in his official capacity as a member of Congress when he spoke at the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally that precipitated the deadly Capitol riot Jan. 6.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) sued Brooks alleging that he, the former president, Donald Trump Jr., and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani broke Washington, DC laws, including an anti-terrorism act, by “inciting” the riot which led to the deaths of five people.
In a 29-page response to Brooks’ petition, which would obligate the DOJ to take over his defense if successful, the department said the lawmaker’s appearance at the rally was “campaign activity, and it is no part of the business of the United States to pick sides among candidates in federal elections.”
“Members of Congress are subject to a host of restrictions that carefully distinguish between their official functions, on the one hand, and campaign functions, on the other,” the DOJ added. “The conduct at issue here thus is not the kind a Member of Congress holds office to perform”.