Jan. 6 Committee says Trump committed 3 crimes in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election
The January 6 Committee revealed they have evidence to believe that Trump committed three crimes in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election:
- Obstruction of an official proceeding (pressuring Pence to overturn certification)
- Conspiracy to defraud the United States (trying to delay the certification then encouraging rioters)
- Common law fraud (Raffensperger call)
The new information comes from a court filing (pdf) in pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman’s case against the Committee:
…evidence and information available to the Committee establishes a good-faith belief that 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.
“Plaintiff” refers to John Eastman.
Obstruction of an Official Proceeding
The evidence detailed above provides, at minimum, a good-faith basis for concluding that President Trump has violated section 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). The elements of the offense under 1512(c)(2) are: (1) the defendant obstructed, influenced or impeded, or attempted to obstruct, influence or impede, (2) an official proceeding of the United States, and (3) that the defendant did so corruptly. Id. (emphasis added). To date, six judges from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia have addressed the applicability of section 1512(c) to defendants criminally charged in connection with the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Each has concluded that Congress’s proceeding to count the electoral votes on January 6th was an “official proceeding” for purposes of this section, and each has refused to dismiss charges against defendants under that section.
…the President repeatedly asked the Vice President to exercise unilateral authority illegally, as presiding officer of the Joint Session of Congress, to refuse to count electoral votes. In service of this effort, he and Plaintiff met with the Vice President and his staff several times to advocate that he unilaterally reject and refuse to count or prevent the counting of certified electoral votes, and both also engaged in a public campaign to pressure the Vice President.
Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
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 in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. An individual “defrauds” the government for purposes of Section 371 if he “interfere[s] with or obstruct[s] one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.” …To establish a violation Section 371’s “defraud” clause, “the government need only show” that (1) the defendant entered into an agreement (2) to obstruct a lawful function of the government (3) by deceitful or dishonest means, and (4) that a member of the conspiracy engaged in at least one overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
…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, disseminating false information about election fraud, and pressuring state officials to alter state election results and federal officials to assist in that effort. As noted above, in particular, the President and Plaintiff worked jointly to attempt to persuade the Vice President to use his position on January 6, 2021, to reject certified electoral slates submitted by certain States and/or to delay the proceedings by sending the count back to the States
Common Law Fraud
There is also evidence to support a good-faith, reasonable belief that in camera review of the materials may reveal that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in common law fraud in connection with their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. The District of Columbia, where these events occurred, defines common law fraud as: (1) a false representation; (2) in reference to material fact; (3) made with knowledge of its falsity; (4) with the intent to deceive; and (5) action is taken in reliance upon the representation.
… the evidence shows that the President made numerous false statements regarding election fraud, both personally and through his associates, to the public at-large and to various state and federal officials. These statements referred to material facts regarding the validity of state and federal election results. And the evidence supports a good-faith inference that the President did so with knowledge of the falsity of these statements and an intent to deceive his listeners in hopes they would take steps in reliance thereon.