Trump likely broke aw trying to obstruct Biden win by Congress, judge says

Trump likely broke aw trying to obstruct Biden win by Congress, judge says

Attorney John Eastman gestures as he speaks next to US President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, as Trump supporters gather ahead of the president’s speech to contest the certification by the US Congress of the results of the 2020 US presidential election on the Ellipse in Washington, US, January 6, 2021.

Jim Bourg | Reuters

Ex-President Donald Trump likely broke the law by “corruptly” attempting to obstruct the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal judge said in a civil court ruling Monday.

Judge David Carter wrote that Trump with his ally, the lawyer John Eastman, “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history.”

Eastman, while a professor at Chapman University, had written a memo that had detailed how Vice President Mike Pence could reject the certification of Biden’s election win by a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6. Pence did not go along with that plan, infuriating Trump.

“Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory,” Carter wrote in the ruling in US District Court for the Central District in California, which rejected most of Eastman’s bid to withhold documents subpoenaed by a select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

If the plan “had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution,” wrote the judge, whose ruling does not mean that Trump will be prosecuted for the suspected crime.

Carter noted that Trump and Eastman, according to the select House committee, on Jan. 2, 2021, hosted a briefing that urged several hundred state legislators from states won by Biden “to decertify’ electors” for Biden.

The judge also cited the fact that Trump that same day called Georgia’s secretary of state and urged him to “find” enough votes for Trump to overturn Biden’s election in that state, warning of “public anger and threatened criminal consequences” when that official, Brad Raffensberger, pushed back on the requests.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Carter wrote.

“If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.”

Carter’s stinging comments came in his decision that ordered Eastman to disclose 101 documents to the select House committee.

The judge wrote that 10 other documents should not be turned over to the committee, finding that they are privileged because they constitute attorney work product.

Eastman had spoken at a rally for Trump held outside the White House earlier that day, where the then-president and his allies called on Congress and Pence to block Biden’s victory.

Shortly afterwards, a mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol complex and swarmed the halls of Congress.

The riot disrupted for hours the proceedings confirming that Biden would become president later that month. Five people died in connection with the riot, including a Capitol police officer.

Spokespeople for Trump, the House committee, and the US Department of Justice, as well as Eastman’s attorney, did not immediately return requests for comment on Carter’s ruling.

– Additional reporting by Kevin Breuninger

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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