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Rep. Mo Brooks during a June news conference on Capitol Hill. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Alabama congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani. Brooks said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

  • But lawyers for the DOJ said in a court filing late Tuesday that the record indicates that Brooks' 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."
  • The Jan. 6 rally at which the suit's defendants attended was organized by a pro-Trump nonprofit and the DOJ lawyers wrote they "cannot conclude that Brooks was acting within the scope of his office or employment as a Member of Congress at the time of the incident out of which the claims in this case arose."

What else they're saying: "Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative — or any federal employee," the Justice Department lawyers wrote.

  • "In light of the Department's declination, the United States should not be substituted as a defendant in this action."

The other side: Brooks has previously described the lawsuit as "frivolous" and "meritless."

Flashback: Swalwell's representatives served the suit on Brooks last month after trying since March to do so and hiring a private investigator to locate him.

Go deeper

DOJ urges Supreme Court not to overturn Roe v. Wade

Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Sept. 9 news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice sought permission Monday to present oral arguments when the Supreme Court hears a case challenging Mississippi's strict abortion law, as it called on justices to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The two briefs, filed by acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher, mark the latest attempt by President Biden's DOJ to "protect the legal right to an abortion," per the New York Times, which first reported on the court filings.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

2 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.

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