Trump and right-wing attorney were part of ‘criminal conspiracy’ to void 2020 election, Jan 6 committee says

The filing is part of an attempt to convince a judge to allow the panel access to the emails of attorney John Eastman, who claims solicitor-client privilege. The committee said he helped orchestrate the plot.

The dossier is the most comprehensive release yet from House investigators on January 6 as they attempt to obtain Eastman’s emails – and comes long before the House Select Committee released its report final on his findings on Trump. House members also signaled they could take the Justice Department to the Justice Department about Trump, depending on their findings, and House arguments on Wednesday could be seen as a preview of a case that could be filed. by federal prosecutors.

In Wednesday’s 61-page court filing, House attorneys wrote, “The evidence and information before the Committee establishes a good faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have committed criminal acts and/ or fraudulent, and that the applicant legal assistance was used in furtherance of such activities.”

Eastman and Trump have not been charged with any crimes by federal or state prosecutors, and none of the top advisers around Trump have been charged with crimes related to Jan. 6.

The Chamber does not have the capacity to institute criminal proceedings. A judge overseeing the civil trial will personally review the emails and decide whether they should remain protected.

To make its case, the House pointed to Trump’s actions to void the election, arguing that he was criminally trying to prevent Congress from certifying his loss of the presidency.

“The President has called and met with state officials, met repeatedly with Justice Department officials, tweeted and spoken publicly about these issues, and engaged in a personal campaign to persuade the public that the election had been marred by widespread fraud,” House attorneys wrote.

“Evidence supports an inference that President Trump and members of his campaign knew that he did not win enough legitimate electoral votes in the state to be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election during the session. Joint Congress of Jan. 6, but the president nonetheless sought to use the vice president to manipulate the results in his favor.”

They also cited an interview with a senior Trump administration adviser, Keith Kellogg, who heard Trump pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, to block the vote. of Congress.

“Words — and I can’t remember exactly either, but something like that, yeah. Like you weren’t tough enough to make the call,” they quoted Kellogg, citing his testimony to Congress, which has not been published before.

Presenting their conspiracy argument on the record, the House committee focused on the pressure put on Pence.

“The conspirators also obstructed a lawful government function by pressuring the vice president to violate his duty to count electoral certificates presented by certain states. As an alternative, they urged the vice president to delay the count for allow state legislatures to meet and select alternate electors,” they write.

“The apparent purpose of these efforts was to nullify the results of the 2020 presidential election and declare Donald Trump the winner. In doing so, the conspiracy was intended to obstruct and interfere with the proper functioning of the government of the United States “, added the House.

The House filing on Wednesday detailed how Trump administration officials were pushing back against the then-president’s insistence that the federal government block the election result.

Justice Department leadership told the committee, according to transcripts the House submitted to the court, that Trump had personally pressured them to investigate voter fraud and that they would not hold the press conference that he wished.

Richard Donoghue, a former deputy attorney general under Trump, testified that the then-president specifically pushed the Justice Department to call the entire election “corrupt.”

“He wanted us to say he was corrupt. And that was consistent with some things he said at other times. The ministry should publicly say the election is corrupt or suspicious or unreliable. At some point given, he mentioned the possibility of having a press conference. We told him we weren’t going to do that,” Donoghue said, according to the House filing.

And Greg Jacob, a top lawyer in the vice president’s office, told Eastman in an email Jan. 6 that he “very respectfully” doesn’t believe a Supreme Court justice would endorse the legal theories. from Eastman. “And thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege,” Jacob signed off on the email, at 12:14 p.m. on Jan. 6.

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The filing also revealed that Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to Trump, told the committee that Trump was told after the election “in fairly candid terms” that he was going to lose.

Around that Jan. 6, Eastman, a conservative attorney working with then-President Trump’s legal team, was a key voice pushing a theory that Pence could stand in the way of Joe Biden’s election victory. Prominent conservative lawyers as well as Pence and his advisers widely condemned Eastman’s theory as nonsense and not something possible.
The House subpoenaed Eastman’s emails from Chapman University, his former employer, in recent months, but Eastman went to court to block the handover of thousands of documents – claiming they were his confidential solicitor-client communications.

One of the ways the Chamber can try to overcome this request for confidentiality is to show the court that the communications related to ongoing or future crimes, or fraudulent activity. Currently at issue in court, there are more than 100 emails that Eastman says are part of his Trump representation from January 4-7, 2021, and more than 10,000 in total that Eastman is trying to keep from the committee.

The Justice Department has indicted more than 750 participants, some of whom it says engaged in conspiracies, in the pro-Trump riot on the US Capitol, which interrupted Congress from its session certifying the election.

The House argument on Wednesday accuses Trump of conspiring to commit the same types of crimes that many of his supporters who violated Capitol grounds have been convicted of.

This story was updated with additional details on Wednesday.

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