The House intelligence committee has compiled extraordinary evidence on President Trump’s last-ditch effort to subvert the 2020 election and thwart a peaceful transfer of power. It has gathered voluminous call records, text messages and emails from witnesses in Trump’s orbit and the vice president’s office. The committee’s final report is set to include volumes of legislative recommendations to prevent another attack and other subversions of democracy.
In addition to a bar on Trump from future public office, the committee is calling on Congress to create a formal mechanism to assess whether he and other members of his administration violated a constitutional provision that says an individual who takes an oath to support the US Constitution but “engages in an insurrection” or provides “aid or comfort to the enemies of the Constitution” can be disqualified from public office. The panel’s recommendations come as a growing body of law enforcement officials is exploring possible criminal charges against those who helped subvert the process.
One of the biggest pieces of the committee’s evidence was a two-page memo authored by conservative attorney John Eastman that detailed how he thought then-Vice President Mike Pence could theoretically overturn the outcome of the presidential election. The committee says it has evidence that Eastman tried to convince Trump to pursue the idea, and that he was present at a January 4, 2021, meeting between the two leaders in the White House that discussed how Pence might overturn the results.
Another big piece of evidence the committee has uncovered is that one of Eastman’s former clients, a little-known pro-Trump attorney named Kenneth Chesebro, was the original architect of the legal dubious fake electors plan. The committee is also revealing new details about the way that Trump and his team coordinated with Chesebro to carry out the plan, pointing to the fact that the two of them reached out to each other on December 23, 2020, the day that Eastman drafted his initial memo.
This was just the first of many meetings between Eastman and Trump that included a raft of false claims about election fraud, according to the committee’s findings. Those claims included:
That a prominent voter-registration campaign in Florida used software that had been created at the direction of deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to swing votes, and that the technology was being supplied to the Trump campaign by Dominion Voting Systems.
It was also revealed that at a press conference after the riot, one of Trump’s top lawyers, David Powell, falsely claimed that Dominion Voting Systems had ties to Bill Clinton and George Soros, and that the company provided software that allowed voters to vote multiple times using different ID numbers and voting locations.
The report’s findings also show that as the riot unfolded on television, Trump failed to make calls for security assistance and resisted attempts by his staff to halt the crowd’s violence. And, he even fired off a tweet that denounced Vice President Mike Pence, which the committee says was a direct response to the riot.