(Brookings)With Congress undertaking landmark hearings on all of that, our new Brookings report “Trump on Trial: A Guide to the January 6 Committee Hearings and the Question of Criminality” is a comprehensive guide to the proceedings. The report covers the Committee’s work to date, the key players in the attempt to overturn the election, the known facts regarding their conduct that are expected to be covered at the hearings, and the criminal law applicable to their actions.
The report goes beyond prior analyses to provide the first in-depth treatment of the voluminous publicly available evidence and the relevant law, including possible defenses. It reviews the evidence as to whether Trump as a matter of law conspired with his outside counsel John Eastman, administration lawyer Jeffrey Clark, and others to defraud the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 by scheming to block the electoral count on January 6, 2021 and to subvert the Department of Justice’s election enforcement work. The report similarly reviews the evidence as to whether Trump and Eastman violated 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c) with their scheme to obstruct the congressional count.
While the report is primarily focused on possible federal offenses that the hearings are expected to illuminate, it also notes evidence potentially probative of state criminal violations that the hearings will consider. Fulton County, Georgia is one jurisdiction currently investigating such evidence, and the report addresses the factual and legal aspects of that investigation and how it will be advanced by the Congressional hearings. (The Georgia investigation is also the subject of a separate report by some of the publication’s authors.)