The filing is part of an effort to convince a judge to allow the panel access to emails from attorney John Eastman, claiming attorney-client privilege. The commission said he helped orchestrate the plot.
The filing is the most comprehensive release to date from the Jan. 6 House investigators trying to get their hands on Eastman’s emails — and comes well before the House select committee releases its final report on its findings on Trump. House members have also indicated that, subject to their findings, they could make a criminal justice referral to the Justice Department about Trump, and the House arguments Wednesday could be seen as a preview of a case that could be taken by federal prosecutors. be submitted.
In the 61-page court filing on Wednesday, House attorneys wrote: “Evidence and information available to the commission confirms in good faith that Mr. Trump and others may have been involved in criminal and/or fraudulent acts, and that the plaintiff has legal assistance was used to promote those activities.”
Eastman and Trump have not been charged with any crime by federal or state prosecutors, and no top Trump advisers have been indicted for Jan. 6-related crimes.
The House has no power to bring criminal charges. A judge overseeing the civil lawsuit will review the emails themselves and decide whether they should remain protected.
To make his case, the House pointed to Trump’s actions to undo the election, arguing that he was criminally trying to hinder Congress from certifying his loss of the presidency.
“The president called and met with state officials, met with Justice Department officials numerous times, tweeted and spoke publicly about these issues, and conducted a personal campaign to convince the public that the election had been tainted by widespread fraud.” lawyers of the House of Representatives wrote.
“The evidence supports the conclusion that President Trump and members of his campaign knew that he had not won enough legitimate electoral votes to be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election during the January 6 joint session of Congress, but the president nevertheless tried. taking advantage of the vice president to manipulate the results in his favor.”
They also quoted an interview with a top adviser in the Trump administration, Keith Kellogg, who learned that on the morning of January 6, 2021, Trump pressured then Vice President Mike Pence to block the Congressional vote.
“Words — and I don’t remember exactly either, but something like that, yeah. Like you’re not strong enough to call,” they quoted Kellogg citing his congressional testimony, which has not been released before.
By setting out their conspiracy argument in the filing, the House committee focused on putting pressure on Pence.
“The conspirators have also hindered lawful government function by pressuring the vice president into violating his duty to count the election certificates of certain states voters,” they wrote.
“The apparent purpose of these efforts was to nullify the results of the 2020 presidential election and declare Donald Trump the winner. In this way, the conspiracy aimed to impede and hinder the proper functioning of the United States government. disrupt,” the House added.
Around that January 6, Eastman, a conservative attorney working with then-President Trump’s legal team, was a key voice propagating a theory that Pence could stand in the way of Joe Biden’s election victory. Leading conservative lawyers as well as Pence and his advisers have largely condemned Eastman’s theory as nonsensical and not something that was possible.
One way the House can try to overcome that confidentiality claim is by showing in court that the communications involved ongoing or future crimes or fraudulent activity. Currently, there are more than 100 emails in court that Eastman says are part of his January 4-7, 2021 Trump representation, and more than 10,000 in total that Eastman is trying to block before the committee.
The Justice Department has indicted more than 750 participants, including some involved in conspiracies, in the pro-Trump US Capitol riots that interrupted Congress from its session to certify the election.
Wednesday’s House argument accuses Trump of conspiring to commit the same kinds of crimes that many of his supporters who violated the Capitol grounds have been found guilty of.
This story was updated on Wednesday with additional details.
Ryan Nobles of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.