The House Select Committee investigating the events of the Jan. 6th Capitol riot claims 45th President Trump engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.
On Wednesday, the House panel filed a brief in response to a lawsuit brought by John Eastman, a Trump-linked lawyer that helped draft a strategy for the Jan. 6th certification.
The Washington Examiner reports:
“As discussed in the Background section above, evidence and information available to the Committee establishes a good-faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts, and that Plaintiff’s legal assistance was used in furtherance of those activities,” the committee wrote in the filing to a California federal court.
The panel pointed to three specific legal violations Trump and his allies may have committed to defraud the United States.
The first was a criminal conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by “interfering with the election certification process, disseminating false information about election fraud, and pressuring state officials to alter state election results and federal officials to assist in that effort.” The second was common law fraud in Washington, D.C., which involves the intentional false representation of fact. The briefing presented documents showing false statements Trump made about the election to the public and to a slew of officials.
The third was Trump’s endeavor to hinder the congressional certification of the 2020 election. At least six judges ruled that Congress’s certification process was “an official proceeding of the United States.” Attempting to obstruct an official proceeding is a crime. The committee accused Trump of illegally requesting then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count the electoral votes and attempting to alter the certification process in several states in order to undermine the certification process.
Eastman filed a lawsuit against the panel to quell a previous subpoena from the groups seeking his emails. Eastman argued that his records should be withheld due to attorney-client privilege.
“The Select Committee is not conducting a criminal investigation. But, as the judge noted at a previous hearing, Dr. Eastman’s privilege claims raise the question whether the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege applies in this situation,” committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson and Vice Chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney said in a joint statement. “The facts we’ve gathered strongly suggest that Dr. Eastman’s emails may show that he helped Donald Trump advance a corrupt scheme to obstruct the counting of electoral college ballots and a conspiracy to impede the transfer of power.”
The accusations are the most serious that the committee has leveled against Trump thus far, however, the allegations filed are not formal charges against the 45th President. Ultimately it will be up to the Justice Department to decide to pursue criminal charges against Trump.