Trump Tried Illegally to Obstruct Congress' Counting of Electoral Votes, Engaged in Criminal Conspiracy: Jan 6 Panel

Former US President Donald Trump and his campaign tried illegally to obstruct Congress' counting of electoral votes and "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States", said the Jan 6 select committee citing its evidence.

The committee filed its findings in the federal court on late Wednesday, suggesting that its evidence support findings that multiple laws were violated by Trump as he attempted to prevent Congress from certifying his defeat.

Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump Twitter

To Defraud US

In a filing submitted in US District Court in the Central District of California, the committee said that 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 after characterizing excerpts of nearly a dozen depositions from top aides to Trump and then vice president Mike Pence described that the then-president had been informed repeatedly that he lost elections and his claims of fraud in the elections were unfounded as Trump continued to mislead the US people.

The committee also found that Trump pushed his top advisers to continue to find out ways to turn the poll's results.

Capitol riots
Trump supporters who stormed Capitol on January 6 Wikimedia Commons

The committee revealed its findings as a crucial part of a legal push to force John Eastman, an attorney who was a key driver of Trump's strategy to subvert the 2020 election, to produce crucial emails tying together elements of the scheme they described, reported Politico.

Three Distinct Crimes

The committee suggests that former president Trump and his allies could have committed three distinct crimes, obstruction of an official proceeding — in this case, Congress' Jan 6 session to count electoral votes — defrauding the United States by interfering in the election certification and spreading false information about the results, and a violation of the District of Columbia's common fraud law.

Emily Hernandez Capitol Riot
Emily Hernandez on the day of the Capitol riot Twitter

Investigators would have to show that Trump corruptly intended to impede an official proceeding as they attempt to prove that the former president committed felony obstruction.

The committee also emphasized that his work with Eastman to pressure former VP Pence to take illegal acts could satisfy this requirement as Donald Trump had continued to spread claims of fraud, which his own allies said were unfounded.

Complex to Determine Trump Violated Criminal Law

It is still complex to determine that Trump had violated criminal law on Jan 6 but the committee's findings could press Justice Department to reveal its own thinking on the issue.

Hundreds of Trump supporters were charged by prosecutors in the Jan 6 Capitol riot as they sought to obstruct Congress' effort to count electoral votes.

Prosecutors have charged hundreds of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol with seeking to obstruct Congress' effort to count electoral votes, but applying that law to the former president presents a trickier calculus.