The panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots says it has evidence that former President Donald Trump and his campaign team committed crimes in their efforts to overturn the presidential election results.
The Democrat-dominated special committee made the charge in court filings made public late Wednesday.
“The Select Committee 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,” the committee wrote in a filing submitted in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.
The panel released its findings as part of its efforts to force John Eastman, an attorney who was a key driver of Mr. Trump’s strategy to reverse the election, to produce crucial emails that might tie together the scheme that the panel described.
Those findings included excerpts of numerous depositions from top aides to Mr. Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
The panel said Mr. Trump was told repeatedly that claims of voter fraud were minor or unfounded and that he had legitimately lost the election. But he rejected them and continue to mislead the public to lay the groundwork to reverse the Electoral College result.
Mr. Eastman was told to develop a legal strategy to persuade Mr. Pence to refuse to certify the Electoral College results when he presided on Jan. 6, 2021, over Congress’ meeting to do that — usually a pro forma gathering that became a riot.
“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,” Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, respectively the select panel’s chair and vice chair, said in a separate statement.
The panel emphasized potential crimes to persuade U.S. District Court Judge David Carter that none of Mr. Eastman’s records are protected by privilege.
According to emails presented by the Jan. 6 panel to the court, Mr. Eastman continued to press Mr. Pence even after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing.
“Thanks to your bull——, we are now under siege,” Pence counsel Greg Jacob emailed Mr. Eastman, along with a lengthy rebuttal of his legal claims.
According to emails obtained by the panel, Mr. Eastman replied that “the ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so the American people can see for themselves what happened.”
Mr. Eastman later made another effort to convince Mr. Pence to stop the counting of Electoral College votes and called it a “relatively minor” violation of the federal law known as the Electoral Count Act.
“Plaintiff knew what he was proposing would violate the law, but he nonetheless urged the Vice President to take those actions,” the committee wrote in its filings.