For the first time, Donald Trump is named by Jan 6 Committee, here’s what they allege
In a late-night filing, the January 6 Select Committee claimed former President Donald Trump "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States." The massive moment is the first time the committee has named Trump directly and could spell more trouble for the under-fire GOP leader. The massive revelation came as the committee appeared to force Trump's lawyer John Eastman to produce crucial emails tying Trump to the insurrection effort.
To date, the committee refrained from going after Trump or his family but instead targeted several people in his orbit like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and even Rudy Giuliani. However, it appears all roads lead back to Trump himself, with the filing indicating that all the subpoenas, documents, and interviews to date show Trump at the center of the scheme.
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It's just the latest setback from Trump, who is also facing a civil case in New York over his taxes and multiple other cases in several states tied to his attempts to overturn the election. So far, courts have refused to grant him a reprieve, so it is possible he may be forced to testify in front of Congress after all.
What did the filing say?
The filing by the committee doesn't actually target Trump, but rather his lawyer Eastman. The committee was Eastman to hand over all his emails and documents relating to his work for Trump so that they can tie all their other findings to date back to the President. During his testimony, Eastman invoked his Fifth Amendment right nearly 150 times and refused to release documents citing attorney-client privilege.
"But Plaintiff’s (Eastman) role was not simply as an advisor; he spoke at the rally on the morning of January 6, spreading proven falsehoods to the tens of thousands of people attending that rally, and appears to have a broader role in many of the specific issues the Select Committee is investigating," the committee wrote in their filing. The committee also indicates that Eastman used his university email, and questioned the legitimacy of his relationship with Trump as reasons the privilege should be revoked.
To indicate that they have cause to review Eastman's documents, the committee laid out some of the numerous evidence they gathered from their exhaustive investigations. That included testimony from campaign adviser Jason Miller, Mike Pence's counsel Greg Jacob, and Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, along with documents from the National Archives. Together, all the samples indicate that Trump did play a central role in overturning the election.
Allegations against Trump
The filing goes on to accuse Trump and his cronies of three distinct crimes - The obstruction of an official proceeding (the certification of electoral votes), defrauding the United States (by spreading false claims about the results), and a violation of the District of Columbia’s common fraud law. They allege that Trump and Eastman were part of a "criminal conspiracy" to overturn the election, and note " 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."
Of course, this is not equal to saying Trump actually violated those laws, but just an accusation. The committee will still have to prove the accusations, which is why it wants Eastman's emails. "Plaintiff knew what he was proposing would violate the law, but he nonetheless urged the Vice President to take those actions," the committee wrote on Eastman's efforts to continue to pressure Mike Pence, even during the insurrection.
The filing lays out a very clear narrative - Trump's advisors told him he lost, yet he proceeded to claim he won and used people like Eastman and Giuliani to pressure Pence into stopping the certification of votes. In a statement, Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said, "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.”