Assault on Capitol Deemed "Criminal Conspiracy to Defraud the United States"

The U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol has now said that Trump and key allies were involved in a criminal conspiracy. This is the first time they have made such a charge in a court filing. The filing is part of efforts to get Trump lawyer John Eastman to turn over documents related to the events of January 6, 2021, specifically emails sent between January 4 and January 7. Eastman is the one who put forward the advice that then Vice President Pence could reject electors from states won by Biden and give the election to Trump.

Lawyers for the House Committee said in a court filing March 2 that the Committee "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." They say Trump and key allies engaged in potential crimes during their effort to overturn the election: conspiring to defraud the United States and obstructing an official congressional proceeding -- the counting of electoral votes.

The filing is part of a civil case in a California federal court challenging Eastman's refusal to turn over thousands of emails the committee has requested, related to his role in trying to persuade Pence to reject Biden electors. Eastman has cited attorney-client privilege as a shield against turning over the documents because he has said he was representing Trump at the time. Lawyers for the committee argued that the evidence it has gathered led to a "good-faith belief that Mr. Trump and others may have engaged in criminal and/or fraudulent acts" and that Eastman was "used in furtherance of those activities." If so, the attorney-client privilege does not hold.

"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's chairman, Representative Bennie G. Thompson (Mississippi), and vice chair, Representative Liz Cheney (Wyoming), said in a statement.

It is significant that the House Committee chose now to make the charges. President Biden, in his State of the Union address made no mention at all of January 6. This was part of his effort to unify the vying factions among the rulers, using the conflict in Ukraine and what he termed his "Unity Agenda." He chose to not address the very serious conflict around January 6, directly related to the civil war conditions increasing in the U.S., including on this issue of peaceful transfer of power. Trump and his backers, with their January 6 attempted coup, have made clear they will not abide by the Constitution while Biden and the House Committee continue to try and use it and their claim of being “peaceful,” to preserve the union and keep the people in line.

The dysfunction of elections and conflicts within and between the military, presidency and with governors as well, have not been sorted out. Retired military Generals, numerous academics and others are saying there will not be a peaceful transfer of power for 2024. They are openly talking about the threat of civil war. This includes a breakdown in the military chain of command.

The House Committee has been a main means to test the waters in terms of going forward with criminal charges against Trump and his allies -- something that would likely prevent Trump from running for president. The Committee itself cannot bring charges but only make recommendations to the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ has not responded to these latest charges. Furthermore, now Biden has given it another task, to pursue Russian oligarchs, also part of his effort to unify the bureaucracy.

Biden is contending with a situation of repeated failures, like the defeat in Afghanistan as well as failing to pass his signature legislation, such as Build Back Better. He seems to think that by not mentioning January 6 he can rise above the divisions and unify the contending forces, while using the Committee to leave open the possibility of criminal charges against Trump. There is no indication this will lessen the contention among the ruling factions vying for power, with the powers of the presidency the most coveted of all.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 3 - March 6, 2022

Article Link:


Website:   Email: