For the very first time, a House panel examining the attempt to reverse the result of the 2020 presidential election stated Wednesday that former President Trump and his aides may have committed serious crimes.
According to a court filing, Trump and his supporters participated in a “criminal conspiracy” to stop Congress from confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
As per the panel, Trump and his associates distributed misleading information about the presidential election’s results; they encouraged state officials to reject the results, possibly breaching multiple federal statutes.
“The Oversight Committee also has a better foundation for determining the president and individuals of his campaign participated in a criminal conspiracy to deceive the United States,” the panel said in a court filing in the Central District of California.
The commission’s 221-page file is the most official attempt to link the past president to a felony offense, while the filing’s true significance is unclear.
Legislators do not have the authority to pursue a case on their own; instead, they can only refer a case to the Justice Department. The agency has been looking into the riots from last year, but there has been no sign that it will press charges on Trump.
My evolution on Twitter from 2018-2022, according to morons:
2018: 'Far Right Trump Supporter'
2019: 'Black White Supremacist Grifter'
2020: 'Selfish Anti-Science Grandma Killer'
2021: 'Anti-vaxx Conspiracy Theorist'
2022: 'Evil Pro-Russia Putin Supporter'
— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) March 3, 2022
The allegations were made in reaction to a lawsuit filed by Trump supporter John Eastman, an attorney and professor of law who advised Trump on how to overturn the elections.
Eastman is attempting to keep documents hidden from the panel.
Charles Burnham, Eastman’s counsel, said in a letter late Wednesday his client had an obligation “to preserve client confidence and trust, even at significant personal danger and cost.”
“The committee’s report has accused Dr. Eastman of illegal activity in response to his efforts to fulfill this duty,” Burnham continued.
Is This Legal?
Eastman’s attorney-client confidentiality claims were challenged in a brief filed on Wednesday.
The panel claimed there is a legal exception that allows for the publication of information about current or future offenses.
The Jan. 6 panel said in a court filing that there was evidence to conclude that Donald Trump might have engaged in a criminal conspiracy to try to stay in office. https://t.co/usSZCVDW6R pic.twitter.com/jxSWBulqH6
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 3, 2022
In a letter, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s Democrat chairman, said, “The committee’s report is not pursuing a criminal probe.”
“However, as the judge observed at a preliminary trial, Dr. Eastman’s privilege assertions raise the question about whether the attorney-client privilege’s wrongdoing exemption applies in this specific case.”
The committee’s meetings with many key Trump advisers and officials of former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, notably chief of staff Marc Short, as well as chief counsel Greg Jacob, are also included in the filing.
The panel claims it has proof that Trump attempted to hinder an official action (in this case, the certifying of electoral results) by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to postpone it so he could “try to influence” the results.