Jan. 6 panel claims Trump engaged in ‘criminal conspiracy’ to overturn election

The House Committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection said Wednesday night that its evidence shows former President Donald Trump and his associates engaged in a “criminal conspiracy” to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election, spread false information about it and pressured state officials to overturn the results.

The committee made the claims in a filing in response to a lawsuit by Trump adviser John Eastman. Eastman, a lawyer who was consulting with Trump as he attempted to overturn the election, is trying to withhold documents from the committee as it investigates the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. The committee argued there is a legal exception allowing the disclosure of communications regarding ongoing or future crimes.

“The Select Committee 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 committee wrote in a filing submitted in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.

The 221-page filing marks the committee’s most formal effort to link the former president to a federal crime, though the actual import of the filing is not clear since lawmakers do not have the power to bring charges on their own and can only make a referral to the Justice Department. The department has been investigating last year’s riot, but has not given any indication that it is considering seeking charges against Trump.