Trump Perjured Himself

The former President knowingly signed a false affidavit in support of the Big Lie.

POLITICO (“Judge: Trump signed court document that knowingly included false voter fraud stats“):

Former President Donald Trump signed legal documents describing evidence of election fraud that he knew were false, a federal judge indicated on Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote in an 18-page opinion that emails from attorney John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s last-ditch effort to subvert the 2020 election, needed to be turned over to the Jan. 6 select committee. Those emails, Carter wrote, “show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”

The emails are among the files that Eastman had been declining to turn over to the committee, citing attorney-client privilege. While Carter concluded that some of the materials fell under that privilege, he ruled that Eastman must disclose four emails to congressional investigators because they are evidence of a likely crime.

“The Court finds that these four documents are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of the obstruction crime,” wrote Carter, who is based in California.

According to Carter, Trump and his attorneys alleged in a Dec. 4 filing in Georgia state court that Fulton County had improperly counted more than 10,000 votes of dead people, felons and unregistered voters. They then moved that proceeding to federal court and discussed whether to use the same statistics in that filing. In private correspondence, Trump’s lawyers noted that the then-president had resisted signing documents containing “specific numbers.” On Dec. 31, Eastman emailed other Trump lawyers that the numbers filed in state court were not accurate.

“Although the President signed a verification for [the state court filing] back on Dec. 1, he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate,” Eastman wrote in an email to colleagues. “For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”

However, Trump and his lawyers opted to file the federal complaint using the same numbers that Eastman conceded were inaccurate.

“President Trump, moreover, signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief,” added Carter, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public. The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

[…]

Carter’s ruling arms the Jan. 6 select committee with another batch of evidence supporting its investigation of Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election. Eastman’s emails were part of a cache of thousands held by Chapman University, Eastman’s former employer. The select committee subpoenaed Chapman to obtain the emails in January, and Eastman sued to block their release.

The judge’s latest decision could also provide legal fodder for ongoing criminal investigations being conducted by the Justice Department and by prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia into the efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election. It’s unclear whether those investigators already have the emails at issue, but if they don’t, Carter’s latest ruling has put some on the public record and could ease access to others.

This is indeed rather compelling evidence that Trump knew that the claims he was making had no basis in fact. That he continued making them in public is disgraceful. That he did so under penalty of perjury is criminal.

This clearly falls under the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and Carter seems to have been exceedingly scrupulous in only allowing four emails to be released. I am not a lawyer but it seems evident to me that there was enough information already publicly available, mostly thanks to the January 6 Committee’s work, to have constituted a threshold showing that the exception was likely to be applicable.

I’m still skeptical, for a number of reasons, as to whether Trump will ever be criminally charged. Certainly, though, it gets more likely every time there’s a major finding.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jen says:

    My shocked face –> 😐

    It does feel like there *should* be an upper limit on the lying/fraud/perjury threshold.

    I really despise what this man (Trump) has done to this country and to the Republican party.

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  2. Scott F. says:

    This is indeed rather compelling evidence that Trump knew that the claims he was making had no basis in fact. That he continued making them in public is disgraceful. That he did so under penalty of perjury is criminal.

    Trump has flouted the law for his entire life going back at least to his medical deferment to avoid service in Vietnam. He believes he is above the law because he always has been. He’s proud of his lawlessness and his supporters love him for it.

    “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”

    This guy NEEDS to go to jail for law and order to have any meaning in this country. That it still seems unlikely at this point is a national embarrassment.

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  3. Jon says:

    @Jen: He didn’t do anything *to* the Republican Party, he just realized where it already was and took advantage of that. He wouldn’t have the power he does vis-a-vis the party were Republicans not already primed for somebody like him.

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  4. Jen says:

    @Jon: I would argue that he’s made the party worse by emboldening the conspiracy nuts/head cases. You are correct that they were primed for somebody like him, but I think only he could be as brazen a liar and (thus far) get away with it. All while being as dumb as a stump about issues.

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  5. Jon says:

    @Jen:

    I think only he could be as brazen a liar and (thus far) get away with it. All while being as dumb as a stump about issues.

    Oh I absolutely agree on that, but that was just pulling back the curtain on what was already there. Republicans had been primed to embrace liars at least since Gingrich or Reagan, if not well before that.

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  6. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    Back then, I suggested Mr. Cheeto test his theory by shooting Señor Cruz*.

    I’m almost past giving a damn. Yes, Benito is a criminal many times over. Yes, there’s tons of evidence against him. Yes, he should go to jail for the rest of his life. But until he’s arrested or charged, I just don’t care. Until then, it’s a game of building up expectations and having them dashed. Sisyphus won’t ever win against the rock.

    *I do not casually suggest murder. I’m 101% certain Benito would miss.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: From where I sit, it looks to me like the GOP did it to themselves, knowingly and willingly.

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  8. KM says:

    @Jen:
    It’s not that he’s the first to be so brazen about it as there’s a HUGE portion of the population that acts exactly like him to embolden him. The GOP merely has helped cultivate and grow their numbers by giving them actual power.

    Call them Florida Men, Karens, HOA creeps, malignant narcissists, whatever but there is and always has been people who just…. do this and nobody does anything about it. They coast through life because confronting them is lose/lose – the resources and effort you burn through to win are extensive and finite so when they start up again (and they will very shortly), your win starts becoming pyrrhic. It’s easier to just let them wreak things then challenge them and have them WRECK things, an argument the GOP has now blatantly weaponized into “if you make me mad by calling out my sh^t, I’ll go full fascist”

    Before, the assumption was someone like this would never hold power because too many people could use the secrecy of the ballot box to reject them in a way you can’t really do face to face. However the baked in tribalism and binary worldview of conservativism means that if one *does* get to the top, they’re your eternal boss like it or not. You cannot crown a tyrant and then think to control him; you cannot irritate the Karen and not expect a meltdown and demands for the manager. The “sane” conservative thought they could keep nuts placated, fed lies and under control because they fundamentally didn’t understand the nature of the beast.

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  9. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    It’s called “The Big Lie” for a reason.

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  10. CSK says:

    I think Trump always knew he lost. This whole charade was his attempt to make other people believe he won.

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  11. CSK says:

    Trump says that Judge Carter keeps making “very nasty, wrong and ill-informed statements about me.”

    He requests that somebody “please explain to this partisan hack that the Presidential Election of 2020 was Rigged and Stolen.”

    2
  12. reid says:

    @CSK: The imagery that comes to mind is Trump in a straitjacket muttering “rigges and stolen” over and over and over….

    2
  13. inhumans99 says:

    James, several months back you said it might do more harm to the country if he is NOT indicted and charged with a crime before the next Presidential Election, and I nodded my head at that time and said to myself you are 100% correct

    Enough is enough, it is long past time to put the claim to the test that Trump could shoot someone and get away it.

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  14. CSK says:

    @reid:

    It’s become his mantra.

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  15. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve got two take away from this. The first is that it proves out Michael’s observation that in order to avoid arrest a criminal has to get away with it 100% of the time whereas the authorities just need to hit once to put them in the clink.

    The second is that in any circumstance the most important thing to know about Trump is that he is a moron.

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  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Wow! Trump knew that the claims of a stolen election were false. I understand General Franco is still dead, too.

    1
  17. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: you may be excited to know that a Florida state representative is still a big fan of General Franco.

    https://twitter.com/anthonysabatini/status/1582947194780323841

    “I answer only to God and to History.”

    -Francisco Franco

    Just joyfully tweeting out Franco quotes. Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, but not forgotten.

    1
  18. Gustopher says:

    @KM: Karens and HOA types have been around for ages, and have never been limited to conservatives.

    At the Park Slope Food Coop, at least 20 years ago, when I was a member, everyone had to do a work shift every four weeks, and fully half of the people who were in charge of the shifts should never have been placed anywhere near any lever of power.

    There is no tyrant quite like a petty person who is put upon elsewhere.

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  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher:

    There is no tyrant quite like a petty person who is put upon elsewhere.

    Says anyone who has ever dealt with a PTA, anywhere…

    2
  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: My wife’s grandfather was one of the “disappeared.” Her grandmother was imprisoned because he was her husband. Her mother was born in prison during a bombing raid. My wife grew in Franco’s Spain. I’m pretty sure she might have a thing or 3 to say to the right dishonorable Rep. Anthony Sabatini.

    2
  21. Liberal Capitalist says:

    This doesn’t matter… NONE of this matters to anyone that calls themselves “republicans”. They are all in.

    The Republican party doesn’t care if Trump breaks laws, or shoots someone in the middle of 5th Ave in broad daylight.

    The madness of the though leaders of “conservatives” is completely disconnected from both reality and anything remotely connected with actual governing.

    Big lie candidates are taking key positions in red state elections, with the intent of future election nullifications.

    A recent headline said that there is no question that Democracy is on the ballot, but not enough of the electorate actually care.

    It’s over. Turn off the lights.

    Nobody cares about a single lie or a signature.

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  22. al Ameda says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    This doesn’t matter… NONE of this matters to anyone that calls themselves “republicans”. They are all in.
    The Republican party doesn’t care if Trump breaks laws, or shoots someone in the middle of 5th Ave in broad daylight.

    Dead on. Republicans believe that this nihilism is the path to power.

    If you call them on their rank hypocrisy, flat out lies and disinformation, their response is basically, ‘both sides do it.’