In a major filing submitted in federal court Wednesday, the House Select Committee added Trump “engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States” and said evidence supports its findings that the former president violated multiple laws in his effort to prevent Congress from certifying the election for Joe Biden.
“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 to the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.
The filing included depositions from Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence’s top aides. Despite being told repeatedly that he had lost the election and that there was no evidence of voter fraud, Trump dismissed their advisement and continued to mislead the public, per the panel’s findings. This included prodding advisers to break the law by plotting to overturn the election results.
Attorney John Eastman was tasked to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to break federal law by stopping the count of electoral votes in order to help then President Trump overturn the election, according to court filings.
The committee included evidence of Eastman’s tactics aimed at persuading Pence away from the advice of his top aides — including counsel Greg Jacob, who was with Pence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Eastman looked to blame the insurrection on Pence and his associates while also advocating for not certifying the election, per emails obtained by the House Select Committee. The panel also received emails that show Jacob admonishing Eastman for disseminating misinformation to Trump regarding what Pence was legally allowed to do.
“Thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege,” Jacob emailed Eastman.
“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,” Eastman wrote, per the emails obtained by the committee.
Even after Congress reconvened following the violent insurrection to certify Joe Biden as the new president, Eastman emailed again to persuade Pence to not certify the count — a violation of the Electoral Count Act, the federal law that governs the counting of electoral votes following a presidential election.
“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 the filings.
The filings contest Eastman’s claim that he doesn’t have to provide more of his emails, which he has been withholding citing attorney-client privilege, to congressional investigators.
The committee has challenged Eastman’s claims, stating that the lawyer did not represent Trump in a legal capacity.
Eastman, per the panel, presented a letter identifying his client as Trump’s campaign, but the letter was not signed. “This unsigned and unauthenticated engagement letter is insufficient to establish an attorney-client relationship during the period at issue,” the House Committee’s lawyers wrote.