Trump and his CA lawyer add to long list of allegations

OPINION AND COMMENT

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A California judge decided this week to examine over 100 emails that Donald Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman, sent and received around January 6, 2021, for possible disclosure to the congressional committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. That can’t be an encouraging development for Eastman given his habit of writing things he probably shouldn’t have.

The former dean of law school at Chapman University of Southern California didn’t just pen an infamous memorandum detailing how then-Vice President Mike Pence could obstruct the legitimate election by Joe Biden. He also acknowledged that what his memo advised was likely illegal in an email to the vice president’s lawyer on the day of the uprising, saying Pence should refuse to certify Biden’s victory even if he did. it would be a “relatively minor violation” of federal law. .

The evidence mounts, in other words, that when the American electorate threatened to make Trump what they feared most – a loser – they sought the services of what the fictitious dealer of Methamphetamine Jesse Pinkman once called a criminal attorney.

Lawyers on the House Select Committee revealed Eastman’s email as he argued that his communications were not protected by solicitor-client privilege because they related to crimes still in progress, namely obstruction of official process, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and common torts. defrauding the law. Under the so-called crime-fraud exception, lawyers’ communications with their clients are not protected when they relate to ongoing or future crimes.

The committee alleges not only that Eastman and other unspecified associates of Trump may have committed such crimes, but also that the former president himself did. Not that Trump’s role in suppressing a violent mob in the seat of Congress amid a public, concerted, and counterfactual campaign to nullify the election has ever been a mystery worthy of a detective story.

The committee’s potential fraud and conspiracy case against the president joins the allegations of inciting the Capitol riot itself; allegations of electoral fraud under investigation in Georgia; the Trump Organization Financial Practices to be interrogated in New York; extortion, campaign finance and credit violations implicated in Trump’s first impeachment for his communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; the crimes to which another Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to admitting paying off the former president’s alleged lovers; and multiple cases of obstruction of justice painstakingly detailed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The committee’s accusations created an understandable stir when they first appeared in court last week. What is more remarkable, however, is how routine such credible allegations of breaking the law have become against the former president – ​​and how far they have come so far. .

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Josh Gohlke is an associate California opinion editor for McClatchy and The Sacramento Bee. He was previously an associate opinion editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle.

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