In a familiarly unhinged recent appearance on the podcast of ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon, prominent Trump ally Rudy Giuliani proposed that the anti-Trump conservative group known as The Lincoln Project has some sort of connection to the organization of the January 6 demonstrations that devolved into a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol building. His underlying premise is that Trump opponents staged the riot in an attempt to make Trump look bad. This claim is substantially disconnected from reality, falling right in line with a sizable list of instances when certain right-wingers have adamantly refused to acknowledge the basic reality of real world events around them. Now, The Lincoln Project is demanding a full retraction from Giuliani by Wednesday — and without such a move from Giuliani, a defamation lawsuit seems like it might be on the table.
— Madeline Peltz (@peltzmadeline) January 29, 2021
Amazingly, this potential lawsuit wouldn’t even be the first recent defamation lawsuit against Giuliani. Recently, Dominion Voting Systems — an election management and voting machines company — filed a $1.3 billion defamation suit against Giuliani after he and other Trump allies spread the nonsensical allegation that the company participated in an imaginary nationwide election-rigging scheme to hand victory to Biden. In this case, Lincoln Project attorney Matthew Sanderson wrote to Giuliani, in part, as follows:
‘You told your zealots what to do. They listened. They vandalized. They terrorized. They injured. They killed… Rather than apologizing for your actions, you have spent the ensuing weeks deflecting blame and grasping for some way to explain your misconduct… You committed a textbook act of defamation. You publicly accused The Lincoln Project of an infamous and criminal act that it had nothing to do with, as you very well know. You lied. You have until Wednesday, February 3rd to retract your statement fully and to apologize publicly to The Lincoln Project. Refuse at your peril.’
Click on the post below to read the full letter:
The Lincoln Project’s legal response to the false and defamatory statements made by Rudy Giuliani. pic.twitter.com/MshgYIMC69
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 30, 2021
As Sanderson noted, Giuliani directly helped incite the mob that stormed the Capitol. In remarks at an outdoor event in D.C. shortly before the rioting, he spoke approvingly of “trial by combat,” and in the weeks before the rioting, he spread the lie that the outcome of the presidential election resulted from systematic fraud, which the rioters used as a pretense for their effort to forcibly stop the Congressional proceedings to certify Biden’s victory.
Soon, Trump will face a second impeachment trial in the Senate for his own part in inciting the rioting at the Capitol.