NEW YORK –
The U.S. congressional committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol has sought in hearings this month to build a case that then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 electoral defeat amounted to illegal conduct.
Trump said in a June 14 statement that the committee was “lying to the nation,” conducting a “sham investigation.” What charges might prosecutors bring against Trump and how might he defend himself?
Here are some ideas being floated right now:
OBSTRUCTING AN OFFICIAL PROCEEDING
In a March 2 court filing, the committee detailed Trump’s efforts to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to either reject slates of electors for Joe Biden, who won the election, or delay a congressional count of those votes. Read full story
The president’s efforts likely violated a federal law making it illegal to “corruptly” obstruct any official proceeding, or attempt to do so, said Andrew Carter, the California federal judge overseeing the case.
“The pressure on Pence alone is enough” for prosecutors to prove Trump obstructed the proceeding, said Barbara McQuade, a law professor at the University of Michigan and a former federal prosecutor.
CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES
The committee submitted the court filing as part of its effort to force Trump adviser John Eastman to hand over documents.
The filing said it was likely that Trump and others conspired to defraud the United States, which criminalizes any effort by two or more people to interfere with governmental functions “by deceit, craft or trickery.”
In addition to Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence, the committee cited his attempts to convince state election officials, the public and members of Congress that…