The DOJ hangs Rep. Mo Brooks out to dry for allegedly inciting the January 6 insurrection
Poor Mo Brooks. Hardly the sharpest tool in the GOP's legislative shed to begin with, the Alabama congressman who once tweeted his email password to hundreds of thousands of people was notified by the Justice Department on Tuesday that he's on his own when it comes to the ongoing lawsuit filed by his colleague, Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.). The suit alleges Brooks and other GOP figures were directly responsible for inciting the Jan. 6 attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol building.
Brooks, who encouraged the budding insurrectionists to "start taking down names and kicking ass" during the Stop the Steal rally that preempted the riot, had initially argued that he spoke in his capacity as a United States Congressman, and is therefore immune from being personally named in a lawsuit, as prescribed in what's known as the Westfall Act. Accordingly, Brooks argued, he should be replaced with the United States as a defendant in the suit — necessitating the DOJ to serve as defense attorney — and the suit should then be dropped entirely.
The Justice Department, however, wasn't having any of Brooks' responsibility shirking and informed the seditious congressman on Tuesday that "it is no part of the business of the United States to pick sides among candidates in federal elections," as Brooks had done by speaking at the unambiguously partisan pro-Trump rally.
In its filing with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, the DOJ went on to note that the suit against the congressman:
...alleges that Brooks engaged in conduct that, if proven, would plainly fall outside the scope of employment for an officer or employee of the United States: conspiring to prevent the lawful certification of the 2020 election and to injure Members of Congress and inciting the riot at the Capitol. Alleged action to attack Congress and disrupt its official functions is not conduct a Member of Congress is employed to perform and is not “actuated . . . by a purpose to serve” the employer, as required by District of Columbia law to fall within the scope of employment
Put plainly, the government has taken the extremely reasonable position that every single part of Brooks' appearance at the pre-riot Rally was clearly extracurricular, and not at all germane to his role as a member of the House of Representatives. Accordingly, the DOJ wrote, "the United States respectfully requests that Brooks’s petition for a Westfall Act certification be denied."
In other words: You're on your own, pal.
Brooks, who initially tried to claim that Swalwell's process server had committed a crime by simply serving the Brooks's wife with the suit (spoiler: not a crime), will now stand alongside former President Trump and his recently suspended personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for their collective role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Trump, unsurprisingly, has argued for the case to be dismissed entirely, claiming he has "absolute immunity" from civil suits for actions during his time in office.