The House select committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, suggested that former President Donald Trump and his lawyer, John Eastman, “engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States” over the attempts to block Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The committee made the accusations in a legal filing, asking a judge to force Eastman to turn over emails that he claims are protected by attorney-client privilege. Eastman wrote several memos suggesting that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the results of the election.
“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,” the committee wrote.
The committee argued that Eastman’s emails “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 facts we’ve gathered strongly suggest that 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,” the committee said in a statement.
Despite the allegations made in the filing, neither Trump nor Eastman have been charged with any crimes. The committee cannot file any charges based on the results of its investigation, though members have suggested they will pass their findings onto the Justice Department to decide if anybody should face criminal charges.
Trump has not responded to the claims, while Eastman’s lawyers issued a brief statement.
“The Select Committee has responded to Dr. Eastman’s efforts to discharge this responsibility by accusing him of criminal activity,” they said, noting they plan to respond to the claims in a more comprehensive manner.