Judge: Trump Committed Crimes
His conversations with lawyers about stealing the election are not protected by privilege.
WaPo (“Judge: Trump ‘more likely than not’ committed crime in trying to block Biden win“):
A federal judge said Monday that then-President Donald Trump “more likely than not” committed federal crimes in trying to obstruct the congressional count of electoral college votes on Jan. 6, 2021 — an assertion that is likely to increase public pressure on the Justice Department to investigate the former commander in chief.
The determination from U.S. District Judge David O. Carter came in a ruling addressing scores of sensitive emails that Trump ally and conservative lawyer John Eastman had resisted turning over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and related efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result.
Eastman wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. The judge was assessing whether Eastman’s communications were protected by attorney-client privilege and was analyzing in part whether Eastman, Trump and others had consulted about the commission of a crime.
“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,” wrote Carter, who is based in California and has jurisdiction because that is where Eastman filed the case.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich called the ruling “absurd and baseless” and said it was an example of “how the left is weaponizing every branch of government against President Trump.”
Eastman’s legal team issued a statement saying that Eastman had a “duty” to raise attorney-client privilege claims to protect communications for those he represented, but that he “intends to comply with the court’s order” to turn over documents.
Carter based his assertions on a review of Eastman’s email communications — only one of which the judge determined might be evidence of the furthering of a crime — as well as publicly known facts about Trump’s actions in the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot.
His ruling does not mean Trump will be charged with a crime, or even investigated. But the opinion will increase pressure on the Justice Department to intensify its probe of the Jan. 6 riot, and potentially examine the conduct of Trump himself. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the violent breach of the Capitol “at any level,” there have been scant signs that the Justice Department is directly investigating Trump’s conduct.
The ruling is also a win for the Jan. 6 committee, which has been moving aggressively to subpoena documents and call witnesses. The committee voted Monday night to recommend holding two former Trump aides — former trade and manufacturing director Peter Navarro and former communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr. — in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with its subpoenas. The House will vote soon on whether to refer the men to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.
NYT (“Federal Judge Finds Trump Most Likely Committed Crimes Over 2020 Election“) adds:
“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” wrote Judge David O. Carter of the Central District of California. “Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the vice president to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election.”
The actions taken by Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman, Judge Carter found, amounted to “a coup in search of a legal theory.”
Judge Carter’s decision was perhaps the investigation’s biggest development to date, suggesting its investigators have built a case strong enough to convince a federal judge of Mr. Trump’s culpability and laying out a road map for a potential criminal referral.
In a statement hailing the judge’s decision, the chairman of the House committee, Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and its vice chair, Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, said the nation must not allow what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, “to be minimized and cannot accept as normal these threats to our democracy.” Mr. Trump made no public statement about the ruling.
WaPo national correspondent Philip Bump explains “Here’s how a federal judge believes Trump probably broke the law.”
The judge was also asked by the House committee to evaluate if the material might need to be turned over because it was not protected by privilege due to the “crime-fraud” exception. In other words, if an attorney is discussing the commission of a crime with a client, that material may not be subject to being withheld under privilege. And earlier this month that’s precisely what the committee alleged: Trump and Eastman were engaged in an effort to violate more than one federal law and, therefore, communication related to that effort should not be privileged.
Carter agreed. The standard in a civil case is that a “preponderance of the evidence” shows that a crime was probably committed, meaning the evidence needed to show that it was “more likely than not.” And when considering the components of two crimes identified by the committee, Carter felt such a preponderance existed.
The first allegation was that Trump had tried to obstruct an official proceeding. For such a crime to be committed, Carter wrote, it needs to be shown that three things happened:
1. “the person obstructed, influenced or impeded, or attempted to obstruct, influence or impede”
2. “an official proceeding of the United States, and”
3. “did so corruptly.”
The second allegation — that there was a conspiracy to defraud the United States — has similar requirements: that “at least two people entered into an agreement to obstruct a lawful function of the government … by deceitful or dishonest means, and … that a member of the conspiracy engaged in at least one overt act in furtherance of the agreement.”
In each case, two of the three stipulations are easy to meet. Trump’s effort to obstruct (No. 1) an official proceeding (No. 2) — the counting of electoral votes — is obvious, though Carter outlines the specific path by which that occurred. Similarly, the first and third components of the conspiracy allegation are fairly trivial to identify: Trump and Eastman worked to twist Pence’s arm and called on the crowd outside the White House to march to the Capitol and pressure Congress, among other things. Again, the full filing makes each case explicitly.
“President Trump’s repeated pleas for Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger clearly demonstrate that his justification was not to investigate fraud, but to win the election,” Carter wrote in his opinion. He quoted Trump: “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”
“Taken together, this evidence demonstrates that President Trump likely knew the electoral count plan had no factual justification,” Carter continued.
In other words, Trump let the veil drop. He wasn’t concerned that fraud might have occurred and that the will of the voters was lost. He was simply worried about getting those votes he needed — and wanted the Republican secretary of state to play ball. This is a corrupt intent. This is dishonest.
“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Carter wrote of the obstruction allegation. “… President Trump vigorously campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election. As Vice President Pence stated, ‘no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority.’ Every American — and certainly the President of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this ‘BOLD'” — quoting Eastman — “President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle.”
There were legal implications from the ruling for the House committee and for Eastman. But, particularly when coupled with the finding last month that Trump probably entered into a civil conspiracy with extremist groups similarly aimed at blocking the 2020 election, Carter’s assertion that a preponderance of evidence suggested that Trump violated the law is historic and enormously significant.
The more this case unfolds, the more I’m reminded of this classic exchange from “The Wire”:
Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell : Motherfucker, what is that?
Sean ‘Shamrock’ McGinty : Robert Rules say we gotta have minutes for a meeting, right? These the minutes.
Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell : Nigger, is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?
Presumably, rather than the niceties of Roberts Rules, the motivation here was documenting billable hours. But the effect is the same.
I continue to be highly skeptical that Trump will ever be indicted, but less convicted, of any crimes related to his time in office. But certainly, by hiring “only the best people” to advise him, he’s made it slightly more likely by leaving behind a mountain of evidence.
Today in No Duh moments. To quote Judge Carter more fully:
As do I James, but a man can dream, can’t he?
Yawn. So a Democrat judge renders an opinion. What about all the Dems who objected in 2000 & 2004? No one cares about this except the DC cocoon, MSM agitators who have been going after Trump since he declared his candidacy in ’15 via Russian hoax & numerous faux scandals ad nauseum & assorted other Lib randos.
Meanwhile, the candidate you & others supported and felt would bring the “Adults” back in charge is a bumbling, weak hapless old man with mush for brains — who is going to stumble us into WWIII if he can’t watch his mouth. & his VP is not much better. Lovely.
At the same time, Gas is averaging $5 in many parts of the Country (twice what it was when the hated Trump was POTUS), hyper inflation & malaise is reminding people fondly of the Jimmy Carter years and Dems are obsessed with a partisan J6 Committee which the Country outside of DC doesn’t care about.
The good news is “No Mean Tweets”.
TPM is reporting that there is an eight hour gap in the presidential records corresponding to the insurrection.
Tell me, as a curious Brit, how does the President control petrol aka “gas” prices?
And, being as he is the President of the United States, why would that control result in petrol current retailing in the UK at the equivalent of $8.5 per gallon?
Or is it, perhaps, a global market price effect?
Your tears and flop sweat are delicious, and I thank you for offering them here so readily.
How gullible of Eastman and others, taking notes as documentation for billable hours. As if TFG would pay the bill.
Eastman’s attorneys opened the door to the ruling that if Eastman’s notes and communications were ordered released to the committee, it would signal that TFG was part of a conspiracy with criminal intent, the judge walked through that door on a red carpet.
Hmm, and yet Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy have both stated publicly, multiple times, that they had repeated phone calls with Trump during that time period.
Lets not forget that Trump was the first WWII president to lose total jobs during his presidency. You have to go back to Hoover to find worse. However, he did make friends with Putin and that has paid off.
@Smooth Jazz: 10,000 unemployed comedians and you’re still giving it away for free.
In other news water is wet. Wake me up when there’s some evidence DOJ gives a damn.
Objecting to an outcome and plotting to ignore legal outcomes are two radically different things.
If you mean the objections made in Congress in 2005 regarding the EVs, I wrote about that here:
How this is compatible to what is discussed in the OP is beyond me. Honest question: why are you breaking your general silence to support Trump’s attempt to overturn an election? Do you honestly think he won?
In regards to 2000–I would note that the actors who were most interested in not counting all the votes were the Reps. I am not sure how that helps your position.
An American, a Briton, and a Russian are discussing what happiness is.
“Easy,” says the American. “Having a lot of money, a big house, lots of cars, and sending your kids to expensive colleges.”
“Too materialistic,” the Briton objects. “Having enough money and a decent supply of tea. What more could one want?”
“Bah! The Russian says. “You don’t know a thing about happiness. Let me tell you what happiness really is. It’s when the FSB breaks your door down in the middle of the night, beat you up, slam you against the wall, and tell you “Ivan Ivanovich, you’re under arrest for protesting against the special military operation!” and you’re able to truthfully say, “Ivan Ivanovich lives in the apartment next door”.”
Sorry, wrong thread.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Including, one may note, Clarence Thomas on the bench and Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett on Bush’s legal team, later to be rewarded with Court seats for their fealty. Practice makes perfect.
@Kathy: Good though.
The objections made in those cases were not of the kind, nor of the severity, of the bloody coup attempt on January 6th. The intent on January 6th, based on published information, was to overturn a free and fair election. In other words to overthrow the Government and to allow an unelected official to remain in power. Trump and others have openly admitted as much.
The months-long conspiracy to stage this coup was spread across all three branches of Government and reaches deep into the Republican party – including GOP officials in several states.
The mind-boggling thing about this – if you are a sentient being – is that participants in this coup are still allowed to participate in the running of our Government even today.
@JohnSF: A POTUS can’t control gas prices directly, but there are certain actions he can take (or not take) to ensure gas prices are stable — i.e. avoid shutting down gas pipelines, avoid stifling new oil & gas US sources, building new wells, etc. But hapless Grandpa FJB is too beholden to climate randos to put forward a policy for US to produce more of our own oil.
As to your other emotional outbursts;
One – Biden is doing an amazing job of PREVENTING WW3. Russia is retreating in many areas of Ukraine. The rest of thee world is unified against Russia, including China who just cancelled fuel orders from Putin to the tune of $1/2B. NATO is stronger today that when Trump did everything he could to disband them. I get that you would rather see Trump dry-humping Putin’s leg, as he did in Helsinki, but that only strengthened and emboldened Putin.
Two – Presidents have very little control over inflation, and none over gas prices. Indeed, both inflation and gas prices are currently up all over the world. I would be happy to hear your theories on how Biden accomplished that.
Note also that oil prices have been trending down for weeks, so include that in your analysis for us.
You MAGA culties are an emotional bunch. If you have suggestions we’d love to hear them. But these swamp-fever driven emotional rants aren’t very productive, or even entertaining.
Your comment only shows that you do not understand the global oil market, commodity pricing, or even the truth about what is happening in your own country.
Remember when Biden suggested using nukes to stop hurricanes? No? How about the secret meeting he had with Putin, and never even told his staff what was discussed? Or the time he crudely altered a map to show a hurricane would hit Alabama? No? Then surely you recall when Biden suggested drinking bleach to treat COVID? Oh, come on! Like when Biden boasted a dementia diagnostic test could measure his stable genius? Or when he pushed to win the Noble Prize?
@Kathy: Boy, that Biden guy is quite the looney toon.
@Neil Hudelson: The crimes are bad, but they get you on the coverups…
Smooth Jazz apparently didn’t get the memo. The Trumpian line today is that the Democrats are dangerous and mean, not weak and inept.
It must be exhausting keeping up with the constantly changing talking points.
Trump asked Putin to release dirt on Biden. Seriously.
You can’t make this up. If anyone tried, they’d be laughed out of the writer’s room.
Biden has called Mad Vlad a butcher and a war criminal, and says he cannot remain in power. If Le Petit Stalin had anything on Biden, he wouldn’t sit on it as Il Piccolo Duce seems to think.
I’m afraid the US is not large enough an export “swing” producer for that to affect world prices that much.
IIRC average US exports since 2010 are around 3 million barrels per day; total world demand is around 90 million bpd.
Of course, the US could try to isolate itself from global oil trading and markets; but that would have a lot of ramifications, some of which might be unpleasant.
As for climate, despite fearing being called out as a “rando” (whatever one of those may be) surely you don’t thing carbon dioxide has no or negligible affect on the global temperature balance?
That has been more or less settled science since good old Svante Arhennius in the 19th century.
Unfortunate, but there you go.
One of those aspects of reality best dealt with, rather than ignored.
See also: gravity and sheer drops; water being wet; fire tending to burn; etc.
@Smooth Jazz: It’s quite sad for your team that the administration and president your team put in place right before the current one was the equivalent of a bunch of malicious 5 year olds. Really, your team should be so ashamed as to retreat from polite society for a decade of introspection.
Of course truth is stranger than fiction – fiction has to make sense!
Yup. The lack of hate tweets getting people killed by inciting hate crime and terror attacks is a very good thing.
So is having a president who isn’t a Putin-puppet traitor, doesn’t deny climate science, doesn’t mock disabled reporters or grab the crotches of other men’s wives, doesn’t praise tiki torch Nazis, doesn’t cut taxes for billionaires, isn’t traumatizing migrant kids with family separation, isn’t writing love letters to communist North Korea, and isn’t causing mass death and record job loss with coronavirus lies and incompetence.
Very good thing indeed, glad Trump supporters are coming around.
A federal judge unilaterally pronouncing an un-indicted and un-tried individual more than likely guilty of a felony doesn’t sit well with me. Never will.
Democratic activist wearing a robe wrote a colorful and extra-judicial soliloquy that sounds like a left-wing blog post. Maybe the judge can add to his opinion why credibly accused Justice Kavanaugh and the Duke Lacrosse players are guilty of sexual assault.
Well, it seems the rumors of a moron general strike were unfounded.
With regard to the 457-minute gap in Pres. Trump’s phone logs on 1/6, Axios PM reports:
My friend’s 8-year-old twins are more in touch with the world than FOG? As Inspector Gadget used to say, “Wowsers, Penny!”
@Flat Earth Luddite:
Jeez, Michael Cohen says a Trump associate bought three of them at a CVS.
@SJP NPC: I mean, if it makes you feel better, we can try indicting and trying him. See how that pans out. 😛
@SJP NPC: All you had to write is “I’m ignorant of what’s legally required of judges doing a crime-fraud exception analysis” and leave leave the rightwing sex obsessed hackery out of it.
Finally got a chance to scan the decision and most of it is very in keeping with this type of civil finding (which have a different standard than criminal findings). And the overall arguement and findings are in line with other ones in this sort of case (honestly, probably more detailed due to the nature of this one).
However, I personally wish that the final disposition (page 44) had not been so broadly written or contained less editorializing beyond the scope of the case. But that sort of thing is also not unheard of amoung Federal Judges in this sort of case.
As an aside, I’m always fascinated what causes someone like a “Smooth Jazz” to return to commenting. I just checked the archives and it looks like their last post was from 2019.
@SJP NPC: I see DK beat me to it. I will only add that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you really shouldn’t.
@Matt Bernius: Like you and some of our drive-by commenters, I’d prefer judges refrain from editorializing but, as you note, it’s not unheard of. And the dude is 78, will never get a promotion, and can retire on full pay whenever he wants. He’s a honey badger.
@Smooth Jazz: There’s almost 9000 drilling permits on federal land that are currently not being used by the oil companies. If they wanted to drill they could.
2 of the 3 keystone pipeline phases are complete and pumping. The third phase would be the pipeline designed to get junk tar sands to the gulf so the oil can be refined and the refined products SHIPPED OVERSEAS..
You know for people that claim to love capitalism so much y’all seem to lack any real understanding of the concept of supply and demand. Foreign countries are willing to pay more and that’s how “petroleum products” ends up in the top five exports of the the USA.
OTB banning of pro-trump commenters and becoming a leftwing blog.
So you are quoting a convicted felon and perjurer Michael Cohen.
@SJP NPC: you support a guy convicted of defrauding a children’s cancer charity.
@SJP NPC: Can only commit perjury if you’re willing to face proceedings and testify under oath. A la Hillary, testifying for eleven hours in the GQP’s partisan Emailghazigatepalooza witch hunt, because she had nothing to hide.
Trump won’t testify freely under oath because he’s a thug, a traitor, and a pathological liar who pardoned and commuted the sentences of his crime family’s convicted felons.
@SJP NPC: Name one. Just one. Because what you call a “leftwing blog” is one that refuses to repeat trump’s lies.
@SJP NPC: Yep, convicted for doing trump’s dirty work. Or did you miss that part?
If, as you claim, OTB has banned pro-fascism commenters, how did you get in?
His big brother’s ID? Or maybe the Groucho eyeglasses/clown nose combo? *
*Sorry, folks, that was beneath us. I’ll try to do better next time.
@SJP NPC:..OTB banning of pro-trump commenters and becoming a leftwing blog.
Are you saying that Mr. Jazz has been banned from OTB since 2019?
I suspect if that is the case one of the moderators here would have mentioned it.
Wasn’t one of the earlier banned commenters obsessed with the Duke lacrosse thing? Has someone found a new way to troll?
If you feed the trolls, they’ll never leave.
If you ban them for trolling, they may go away satisfied that they were canceled.
I knew it had been a long while, but I wasn’t certain. It is pretty stunning to pop back for this.
For the record: no one has ever been banned because they were pro-Trump.
Is it….Paul?! Paul L., or something like that? Wasn’t he the one obsessed with the Duke lacrosse thing?
Sounds like we get the best of that exchange…
I have to admit that once I identify a troll, I don’t even read anything of what they post. It helps resist the urge to feed them.
@Kathy: He’s got a new name, but his old name used to link to an aggregator of sorts, like Memeorandum, but it was ONLY the best of the very best of the fabulous conservative treehouse/gateway pundit links. With a specific predilection for Duke Lacrosse.
@Steven L. Taylor: “I knew it had been a long while, but I wasn’t certain. It is pretty stunning to pop back for this.”
Perhaps, just as Godzilla was awakened from sleep on the ocean floor by a nuclear blast, Smoovie was brought back to consciousness (?) by the news that his idol Sarah Palin was considering entering politics again.
Just using the Democrat’s Kavanaugh standard with Duke Lacrosse.
Duke Lacrosse gives progressives PTSD over how rape apologists made the narrative too toxic, hurtful and insulting despite 1000s of pages of evidence including a irrefutable 36 page memo by the head investigator and the NAACP list of Crimes and Torts committed by Duke Lacrosse Team.
But Democrats obsess over this (from 1997) to defend LGBTQIAMXYZ++ groomers.
Teen Beauty Queens Say Trump Walked In On Them Changing
@Jax: There was a guy who got to the point of derailing almost every thread he commented on by reference the Duke Lacrosse story, as if it proved, well, something.
I can’t actually remember his moniker, but it might have been Paul L.
People get banned for usually two reasons: 1. constantly derailing threads with the exact same inanity (after having been asked repeatedly to cut it out) or 2. just being rude.
I will state that new commenters who come with belligerence or pure insanity don’t make it out of the filter.
@SJP NPC: Please: no more Duke Lacrosse unless for some reason that is the actual topic in the OP.
It is unhelpful, not on topic, and is not the slam-dunk uberexample that you think it is.
For the record: upon reflection, we have no recollection of Paul L. being banned over the Duke Lacrosse stuff,
And, yes, SJP NPC is Paul L., for anyone who cares.
Again: we don’t ban people for being pro-Trump.
@Steven L. Taylor: