Why the Jan. 6 committee says Trump could be charged with criminal conspiracy
The committee said it has enough evidence to conclude that Trump and members of his campaign ‘engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States’
The U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said former President Donald Trump and members of his campaign may have broken the law in their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in California, the committee wrote that it reached a good-faith conclusion that Trump and members of his campaign engaged in criminal or fraudulent acts. In the suit, filed against Trump lawyer John Eastman by committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee wrote that Trump knowingly made false statements about election fraud with an intent to deceive the public and state and federal officials.
The suit pointed specifically to Georgia, a swing state where Trump narrowly lost to then-candidate Joe Biden. In December 2020, the Trump campaign posted edited video clips on social media and in paid Facebook ads falsely claiming to show Georgia officials taking “suitcases of ballots added in secret in Georgia.” The footage was debunked by Georgia’s secretary of state’s office, run by Republican Brad Raffensperger, which released the full unedited footage, according to the suit. In a taped call in January 2021, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him to win the state. Raffensperger declined, telling Trump his data was wrong.
The suit references a number of people involved in the attack on the Capitol who acted on Trump’s false claims, and said there could be evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Eastman, a former law school dean at Chapman University, advised Trump that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the ability to change the results of the election, which he did not . The State Bar of California said Tuesday that Eastman is under investigation for whether his conduct related to the election violates state attorney law and ethics.