A federal judge has agreed with the House committee investigating the Capitol riot that former President Donald Trump is “likely” guilty of felony offenses in relation to his attempts to stop the certification in Congress of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, The New York Times reports. The panel had previously argued that Trump may be guilty of criminal offenses in making their case for why former Trump lawyer John Eastman should hand over emails he claimed to be covered by attorney-client privilege. The privilege, committee investigators argued, didn’t apply here because of potential criminal activity. Specific offenses that the riot panel cited included obstruction of an official proceeding; the proceeding in question would have been the joint Congressional session to certify the presidential election outcome.
Reuters: U.S. JUDGE SAYS FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP LIKELY COMMITTED FELONY OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS ON JAN. 6, 2021 – COURT RULING
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 28, 2022
Another felony offense that the committee pointed to and federal Judge David O. Carter concluded that Trump likely committed is conspiracy to defraud the United States. Eastman, it’s worth noting, was also personally implicated in the potentially criminal acts; he was closely involved in attempts to stop Biden from continuing towards his duly decided place as president. One of the important components of the committee’s original argument was that Trump would have been poised to have corrupt intent in seeking to block the certification of the election outcome because he was ignoring those around him and accessible to him who were sharing the truth of the integrity of the last presidential election process. Discussing efforts to go after the election outcome, Carter observed:
‘The illegality of the plan was obvious… Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the vice president to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election.’
NEW: Federal judge orders John Eastman to turn over records to House Jan 6 Select Committee
Order includes this phrase about Trump's actions on Jan 6: "These actions more likely than not constitute attempts to obstruct an official proceeding.
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) March 28, 2022
None of these conclusions from the judge will force criminal proceedings against Trump. The arguments were only in the context of whether Eastman would have to hand over emails that investigators were seeking. Carter has now ordered Eastman to transfer over 100 particular email messages to the committee as it continues its probe. As Carter put it, seemingly debunking the argument that attorney-client privilege applies here: “The true animating force behind these emails was advancing a political strategy: to persuade Vice President Pence to take unilateral action on January 6.” Eastman laid out plans that involved Pence stopping the certification of Biden’s win as the then-vice president presided over Congressional proceedings dealing with the election outcome early last year.
A federal judge has formally found that Trump more likely than not committed a federal felony connected to the coup attempt.
That’s a different and lower standard than prosecutors must show (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) — but it’s a remarkable finding and sends a stark message.
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) March 28, 2022
A particular plot put forward by Eastman involved Pence rejecting the electoral votes from seven states over supposedly competing claims from those states regarding the winner. In certain states where Biden was victorious, Trump allies put forward supposedly alternate slates of electoral votes, to which Eastman’s plan pointed — but there was no legal foundation for these supposedly alternate electoral votes. That particular Eastman plan saw Pence eventually saying because of the rejected states “that no candidate had reached 270 votes in the Electoral College. That would throw the election to the House of Representatives, where each state would get one vote. Since Republicans controlled 26 state delegations, a majority could vote for Trump to win the election,” as CNN explains the matter. Trump personally promoted Eastman’s plans.
BREAKING: Judge orders John Eastman to release emails he attempted to withhold from the Jan. 6 committee.
"Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power,
undermining American democracy and the Constitution."https://t.co/6VjYbzlIN0
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 28, 2022