A federal judge said Monday former President Donald Trump intentionally tried to subvert the democratic process and probably committed felony obstruction by attempting to overturn the result of the 2020 election, in a ruling ruling that allowed a House committee investigating the Capitol riot to receive sensitive emails from former Trump legal adviser John Eastman.
Eastman, who drafted a legal strategy for overturning the 2020 election, supported an obviously illegal attempt “to secure the presidency by any means,” Judge David Carter wrote.
Carter said Trump’s attempts to push Congress to reverse his election loss “more likely than not constitute attempts to obstruct an official proceeding.”
Carter ordered that a variety of documents be released to the committee, including emails commenting on news reports of violent rioters, a letter from Arizona Republican legislators to former Vice President Mike Pence and letters from a Georgia state senator to Trump.
Eastman had attempted to block the release of some documents by arguing they were protected by attorney-client privilege or by the work-product doctrine, which prevents documents drawn up in anticipation of litigation from being handed over to opposing counsel.
The ruling—which came in a civil case that Trump isn’t a party to—could be the first in which a federal judge suggested a sitting president apparently committed a crime, Politico notes.
Representatives for Eastman and Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.