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Jan. 6 panel: Trump “may have engaged in criminal acts” to overturn election

The Jan. 6 select committee said it believes former President Trump “may have engaged in criminal acts” to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to court documents.

Why it matters: This is the first time that lawyers for the House committee investigating the Capitol riot has outlined allegations of a potential criminal case against Trump, per the New York Times.

  • The committee said in the court filing it “also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,” according to the court documents.
  • They allege they have evidence that could lead to the former president, Trump lawyer John Eastman and others potentially facing criminal violations charges, such as “obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

Driving the news: The documents were filed in response to John Eastman, one of Trump’s former lawyers, who is withholding documents citing attorney-client privilege. Eastman allegedly tried to convince Pence that he could overturn the election results.

  • The House panel alleges that Trump and his campaign tried to illegally obstruct Congress’ counting of electoral votes by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to delay the count.

What they’re saying: “We believe evidence in our possession justifies review of these documents,” said Jan. 6 panel chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) and vice-chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) 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.”

Details: The court documents included depositions from aides who worked for Trump and Pence.

  • It described Trump as a president who continued to spread false claims about election fraud and mislead the public.
  • The former president then allegedly pushed his advisers to come up with ways to overturn election results, Politico writes.

Flashback: Trump had previously accused the Jan. 6 committee of “seeking evidence of criminal activity.”

Of note: Pence said in February that Trump “was wrong about overturning the 2020 elections.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.


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