US: January 6 committee alleges 'criminal conspiracy'
Washington, Mar 03: A US congressional committee tasked with investigating the Capitol insurrection said Wednesday that former President Donald Trump and his associates had engaged in a "criminal conspiracy" to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election. The filing also said Trump sought to delay the certification of the 2020 vote in an effort to "manipulate" results.
The claim was made in a filing in response to a lawsuit by John Eastman, a lawyer and an adviser of Trump's at the time. Eastman consulted with Trump as the president attempted to overturn the 2020 election.
Eastman is suing in an effort to withhold documents from the January 6 committee.
What is in the filing the January 6 committee submitted?
In a 221-page filing submitted to the US District Court in the Central District of California, the January 6 committee wrote that it "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 evidence supports an inference that President Trump and members of his campaign knew he had not won enough legitimate state electoral votes to be declared the winner of the 2020 Presidential election during the January 6 Joint Session of Congress, but the President nevertheless sought to use the Vice President to manipulate the results in his favor,'' the filing states.
The January 6 committee filing is the most formal effort to date to link Trump with a criminal conspiracy.
The filing sought to refute Eastman's claims of attorney-client privilege in his effort to hold back documents from the January 6 committee.
Why is the filing significant?
The US Department of Justice has charged hundreds of individuals with various offenses for participating in the US Capitol riot, though it has not given any indication of whether it seeks to charge Trump.
The committee cannot charge people with crimes.
In a statement, Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson, of Mississippi, said: "The Select Committee is not conducting a criminal investigation."
The filing could, however, carry weight as the Department of Justice weighs its options.
The filing mentions interviews with numerous senior Trump aides, including former Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short.