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House Panel Makes Case That Trump's Jan. 6 Acts Were Criminal

The House Jan. 6 committee made its most forceful case Thursday that President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election was more than an affront to the democratic process — it was a crime, Politico reports. For all the panel’s quibbling over whether to refer Trump to the Justice Department for a possible criminal case, members used Thursday’s hearing to present what they see as some of their most compelling evidence that Trump broke the law in his effort to make former Vice President Mike Pence single-handedly overturn the election. “It was clear that the president was upset with the vice president not agreeing to do something that was clearly illegal, and so he wanted to put as much pressure on Mike Pence as he could,” said committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS.) Said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), “What the president wanted the vice president to do was not just wrong. It was illegal and unconstitutional."

In the aftermath of the attack, then-White House lawyer Eric Herschmann urged Trump adviser John Eastman to get a “good f-ing criminal defense lawyer.” Days later, Eastman would ask Rudy Giuliani for a spot on Trump’s “pardon list.” No pardon ever came. U.S. District Judge David Carter has ruled that Trump and Eastman “likely” entered into a criminal conspiracy to obstruct Congress. The Justice Department said Thursday that the House committee was actually impeding its efforts to investigate the Capitol attack. In a blistering letter, senior department leaders accused the Jan. 6 panel of complicating its work via a “failure” to provide prosecutors access to more than 1,000 transcripts of witness interviews. The frustration goes both ways, as the committee has complained about the department’s refusal to act on criminal contempt referrals of key witnesses in their investigation.


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