On Monday, a federal judge decided that former President Donald Trump “more than likely” committed a criminal by pressuring his vice president to obstruct Congress in order to overturn his election loss on Jan. 6, 2021.
The claim was made in a finding that the House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly attack on the US Capitol has the right to see emails written to Trump by one of his former lawyers, John Eastman. Trump’s intention to overturn his loss, according to the judge, amounted to a “coup.”
In a written judgement, U.S. District Judge David Carter in Los Angeles stated, “The Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”
Requests for comment from Trump’s and Eastman’s representatives in Los Angeles were not immediately returned.
Carter lacks the authority to charge Trump with a crime. For violations of federal law, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland would have to make that determination.
The incident erupted when then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of both chambers of Congress met to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory in November 2020.
Carter added, “Dr. Eastman and President Trump initiated a campaign to overthrow a democratic election, an unprecedented action in American history.” “Their effort was a coup in quest of a legal theory, not just a campaign in search of an ivory tower.”
The Democratic-led committee was appointed to look into last year’s Capitol attack, which was carried out by thousands of Trump supporters, with over 750 of them facing criminal charges.
Trump may have committed numerous felonies, the committee warned earlier this month.
Before the crowd rushed the Capitol, Trump delivered an impassioned speech in which he erroneously claimed that his election loss was due to widespread fraud, a claim that has been debunked by various courts, state election officials, and members of his own administration.