Will they be able to stop Trump?
Last week, the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol made a startling claim: former President Donald Trump participated in a criminal conspiracy when he attempted to prevent the certification of the 2020 election results.
Now, according to experts, the Committee faces an uphill battle to prove to prosecutors that they have a case against the former President.
For months, the panel has been alluding to their desire to investigate if Trump committed a crime, signaling that they would send a criminal referral to federal prosecutors if they uncovered evidence regarding criminal activity.
Last week’s filing was a substantial escalation in the panel’s effort to persuade a federal judge that they should gain access to John Eastman, Trump’s campaign attorney’s communication with the former President and others.
If this were to succeed, it would be precedent-setting as little exists regarding a congressional committee leveling claims against a former President for criminal wrongdoing.
In a brief about the filing, Eastman’s lawyers noted the significance of the panel’s claims.
“Were this court to sustain the defendants’ claims, it may be the first formal finding of Presidential criminality by a federal court in United States history,” the brief read.
However, the aim of last week’s filings that accused Trump of criminal conduct was not directed at convincing prosecutors to charge the former President. Rather, the purpose was to ascertain if they had sufficient burden of proof to compel a federal judge to order Eastman to hand over his communication.
However, the Committee vehemently denies having intentions of pursuing criminal charges against Trump. Instead, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of only two Republicans on the committee, said, “We’re not out here for criminal charges. Our [responsibility] is just to get the bottom of it.”
Kinzinger also added that the information in the filing related to attaining communication from Eastman, but reiterated that criminal charges would be left to the Department of Justice,