4 Big Takeaways From The January 6 Committee’s Public Finale

Jan. 6 committee. Getty Images/TPM Illustration
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The Jan. 6 committee held its last public meeting Monday, unanimously referring four criminal charges against Donald Trump and two against former Trump lawyer John Eastman to the Justice Department. 

After the event, replete with the committee’s signature video montages, presentations from individual members and a final, show-stopping vote, it released a 150-page executive summary of the final report, which is expected in full later this week. 

Here are the biggest takeaways from the public meeting and executive summary: 

Eastman had far more to do with the Jeff Clark DOJ plot than previously known

The report sheds far more light on an unexamined part of the conspiracy to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election: ties between John Eastman’s fake elector plot and Jeff Clark’s bid to hijack the DOJ. 

For much of the last two years, the two seemingly existed in parallel, with only a few connections. 

Eastman proposed a two-part plan: electors pledged for Trump in states that he lost would nevertheless cast their votes for The Donald. This would allow state legislators to convene and re-appoint the fake, Trump-aligned electors as the real ones. If push came to shove, Mike Pence could cast aside the Biden electoral votes in favor of the Trump ones. 

Clark, a longtime environmental lawyer at the DOJ who Trump wanted to install as acting attorney general, had a bold plan: He would have the DOJ send letters to Georgia and other swing states that Trump lost, informing them that fraud had rendered their elections questionable, while advising state legislatures to convene, read Trump campaign-filed affidavits and re-appoint pro-Trump electors as legitimate.

The two plans complement each other, with the DOJ potentially giving the needed push to make Eastman’s plot bear fruit. 

But the Jan. 6 committee revealed in its executive summary on Monday that Eastman was in far closer touch with Clark and a key deputy at DOJ who drafted the letter than was previously known. 

Per the committee, Clark and Eastman spoke over the phone at least five times between Jan. 1 and Jan. 8, and exchanged emails. The panel also found “at least four known calls” between Eastman and Clark’s aide, Ken Klukowski, from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2.

Trump and Eastman not the only ones named in the ‘criminal referral’ section

As Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) was reading the criminal referrals aloud, he mentioned that there could be “others” in Trump’s orbit culpable under the charges as well. The summary provided more detail there. 

The committee targeted Trump for obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and inciting or assisting with an insurrection. It tied Eastman to the first two charges. 

But the committee names additional figures in its executive summary. 

“Others working with Eastman likely share in Eastman’s culpability,” the committee writes regarding the first charge of obstructing the official proceeding. “For example, Kenneth Chesebro was a central player in the scheme to submit fake electors to the Congress and the National Archives.”

“The Committee notes that multiple Republican Members of Congress, including Representative Scott Perry, likely have material facts regarding President Trump’s plans to overturn the election,” the members add. 

In the “conspiracy to defraud the United States” section of the report, the committee points to a whole host of names. 

“With regard to the Department of Justice, Jeffrey Clark stands out as a participant in the conspiracy,” the members write, mentioning Clark’s willingness to go along with the fake electors scheme if he was appointed acting attorney general.

The committee also alleges that Chesebro, Rudy Giuliani, and Mark Meadows appear to have been involved in the conspiracy. 

Under the third charge, conspiracy to make false statements, the committee again points to Eastman and Chesebro as “co-conspirators.” 

The committee pushes for two more criminal charges for Trump, if DOJ can make the case 

The members outline in their report that there is also evidence against Trump under two other statutes, if the Justice Department, with its superior weapons to compel testimony and gather evidence, can make the case. 

“The Department of Justice, through its investigative tools that exceed those of this Committee, may have evidence sufficient to prosecute President Trump under Sections 372 and 2384,” the summary reads, referring to a statute that prohibits stopping an officer of the United States from discharging her duties and one that prohibits seditious conspiracy. “Accordingly, we believe sufficient evidence exists for a criminal referral of President Trump under these two statutes.”

The committee helpfully points the DOJ in the direction of a potentially knowledgeable witness. 

“The Committee believes that former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows (who refused to testify and was held in contempt of Congress) could have specific evidence relevant to such charges, as may witnesses who invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination before this Committee,” it writes in regards to the first charge. 

The committee alleges some real, certified witness tampering from Trump and his allies

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) outlined “findings” that supported the committee’s conclusion that Trump broke the law — most notably in this case, by obstructing the panel’s investigation. 

Lofgren detailed a few situations in which the panel believed that Trump and his allies sought to influence witnesses, either to change their testimony or persuade them not to testify altogether. 

In one instance, Lofgren said, a witness “was offered potential employment that would make her ‘financially very comfortable’ as the date of her testimony approached, by entities that were apparently linked to Donald Trump and his associates.” 

“The witness believed that this was an effort to affect her testimony,” Lofgren added, saying that the unnamed witness remarked that the offers “were withdrawn or didn’t materialize” as news of her testimony spread. 

Lofgren also discussed the case of a witness who was approached by an attorney tied to Trump with advice: that the witness claim they “didn’t recall facts” in certain circumstances. 

That attorney purportedly declined to say who was paying for his work. 

Read the executive summary here:

Latest Five Points

Notable Replies

  1. First. It’s the DOJ’s call that matters.

  2. When my copy of the report arrives, I’m going to go straight from the table of contents to the section on potential witness tampering.

  3. Avatar for debg debg says:

    Legally, yes. But it’s really good for the public to see the vote and the report.

  4. Hurray for the committee. They are making their case. Their recommendations are theirs. They will help educate the American people, that’s the significance.

    I like Froomkin’s advice. Let’s look at the stuff the committee releases.

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