WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said there was enough evidence to conclude that former President Donald J. Trump and some of his allies may have colluded to commit fraud and obstruction by To mislead Americans about the outcome of the 2020 election and attempt to overturn the outcome.
In a court filing a civil suit in California, the commission’s attorneys have for the first time set out their theory about a possible criminal case against the former president. They said they had gathered evidence showing that Mr. Trump, conservative attorney John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations, including obstructing official Congressional proceedings and conspiring to defraud the American people.
The filing also said the men may have violated a common law statute against fraud through Mr Trump’s repeated lies that the election was stolen.
The filing revealed only limited new evidence and the commission asked the judge in the civil case to review the relevant material behind closed doors. In claiming the potential for crime, the commission relied largely on the extensive and detailed reports that had already been made public about the actions taken by Mr. Trump and his allies to keep him in office after his defeat.
The commission added information from its more than 550 interviews with state officials, Justice Department officials and top officials to Mr. Trump. For example, it said that Mr. Trump’s senior campaign adviser, Jason Miller, said in a statement to the committee that Mr. Trump was told “in pretty blunt terms” by a campaign data expert shortly after Election Day that he was going. losses, suggesting that Mr Trump was well aware that his months-long claims about a stolen election were false.
The evidence gathered by the committee “provides, at the very least, a good-faith basis for concluding that President Trump has violated the impediment number,” the filing said, written by House general counsel Douglas N. Letter, adding. “The select committee also concluded in good faith that the president and members of his campaign were involved in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States.”
The filing said a “review of the material may reveal that the president and members of his campaign have engaged in common law fraud in connection with their efforts to reverse the 2020 election results.”
Representatives for Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The panel, which is controlled by Democrats, is a legislative committee and has no authority to charge the former president — or anyone else — of any crime.
But the filing contains the clearest indication yet about the commission’s direction as it weighs in on a criminal justice referral to the Justice Department against Mr. Trump and his allies, a move that could put pressure on Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to take the case. The Justice Department has said little substantive about whether it can ultimately prosecute a case.
The filing contained a sweeping, if now well-researched, account of the plot to reverse the election, including false allegations of voter fraud, plans to advance pro-Trump “alternative” voters, pressure various federal agencies to irregularities and ultimately leads Vice President Mike Pence and Congress to abuse the Electoral Count Act to keep a losing president in power.
“While the president and his associates were spreading dangerous misinformation to the public,” the filing said, Mr. Eastman “was a leader in a related effort to persuade state officials to alter their election results based on the same fraudulent claims.”
The lawsuit arose out of a lawsuit filed by Mr. Eastman, who is seeking to persuade a judge to block the commission’s subpoena for documents in his possession, alleging a “highly partisan” invasion of his privacy. claims. The commission issued a subpoena to Mr. Eastman in January, citing a memo he wrote detailing how Mr. Trump could use the vice president and Congress to try to invalidate the 2020 election results.
As part of the lawsuit, Mr. Eastman sought to protect himself from release documents that he said were under attorney-client privilege. In response, the commission argued — according to the legal theory known as the crime fraud exception — that the privilege does not cover information transferred by a client to an attorney if it was part of promoting or concealing a crime.
Mr Eastman then argued that the commission had provided “no evidence” of the existence of a crime fraud exception, leading to the commission’s final filing.
“The evidence supports an inference that President Trump, Plaintiff, and several others entered into an agreement to defraud the United States by interfering with the election certification process, spreading false information about electoral fraud, and pressuring state officials to monitor the state’s election results. and federal officials. to help with that,” the submission said.
It also referenced a recent civil suit ruling in Washington, DC, in which Federal Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled that it was “plausible to believe that the president conspired with the rioters on January 1. January 6, 2021.”
“In addition to legal efforts to delay certification, there is also evidence that the conspiracy extended to the rioters involved in acts of violence at the Capitol,” the filing said.
The Aftermath of Capitol Riot: Key Developments
Defendant attorneys. The House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack has subpoenaed half a dozen lawyers and other allies of former President Donald J. Trump who promoted false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election and worked to reverse his loss .
On Tuesday, the State Bar of California announced an investigation into Mr Eastman into whether he has engaged in conduct that violates California law and ethical rules.
Mr. Eastman’s memo to Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Pence might be rejecting voters from certain states. Mr. Eastman also attended a briefing for nearly 300 state lawmakers, telling the group that it was their duty to “fix this, this blatant behavior, and make sure we don’t put a man in the White House who not elected,” the committee said.
He met Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence to bolster his arguments, attended a meeting of Trump advisers at the Willard hotel, and spoke at the “Stop the Steal” meeting at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, ahead of the attack on the Capitol. When the violence broke out, he sent a message blaming Mr. Pence for not agreeing to his plan.
As a mob attacked the Capitol and chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” Mr. Eastman sent a hostile message to the vice president’s top attorney, in which he called Mr. Pence blamed the violence.
“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss didn’t do what it took to get this broadcast publicly so the American people can see for themselves what happened,” he wrote to Greg Jacob, the chief of the Mr. Penny. Council.
In a recent filing in his lawsuit, Mr. Eastman said Mr. Trump had him detained in the fall of 2020 “because of his electoral law and constitutional expertise” for “federal disputes related to the 2020 presidential election, including electoral issues related to the Electoral College. ”
On September 3, 2020 — two months before Mr Trump lost the election — Mr Eastman was invited by pro-Trump attorney Cleta Mitchell to join an election integrity task force to prepare for the anticipated post-election litigation. Mr Eastman said Mr Trump had asked Ms Mitchell to take on the effort in August.
The judge in the case has already rejected a request from Mr. Eastman to block nearly 19,000 emails from the committee, saying congressional investigators have the authority to see the messages and the First Amendment does not protect his communications. Mr Eastman has handed over about 8,000 of the emails so far.
Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman reporting contributed.