A former special counsel compared the Ivanka letter to what DOJ lawyers have said in court — here’s what he found
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol sent a letter to Ivanka Trump asking for some of the information to confirm some of the facts that other witnesses have told them.
Among the details in the letter from committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), include questions about Former President Donald Trump's efforts to persuade Pence that he could throw the 2020 election back to the state legislatures to decide.
Former special counsel Ryan Goodman cited a phone call between Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence when Trump was pressuring Pence to refuse to certify the election during the Jan. 6 Electoral College count. "General Keith Kellogg was also in the Oval Office during that call, and has testified about that discussion," the letter says.
Goodman called this "criminal obstruction of [the] Jan. 6 proceedings for which many have been indicted."
The committee said that it wants to hear her side of the conversation she heard on the phone call and any other conversations. Thompson also gave an example of "Committee has information suggesting that President Trump's White House Counsel may have concluded that the actions President Trump directed Vice President Pence to take would violate the Constitution or would be otherwise illegal."
Until now, the conversation about Trump pressuring Pence has not been part of the conversation of illegal behavior, but Goodman recalled that the Justice Department is clearly looking at it as a possibility.
U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols posed the question in November last year of whether it would be a felony to "corruptly" interfere with an official government proceeding.
Former Watergate lawyer Nick Ackerman referred to the Trump administration documents that the Supreme Court said must be handed over to the Committee, saying that they too could prove the same felony.
"This really is going to answer the question, can they make a criminal case on Donald Trump for obstructing Congress, which is an extremely serious federal felony carrying imprisonment of 20 years," Ackerman explained.
According to Politico, such a crime typically happens in relation to a court case like threatening judges or jurors. Prosecutors have, however, used it in about one-third of the 730 people charged for the insurrection.
It also wasn't the first time Nichols mentioned it. During a hearing for alleged Capitol attacker Garret Miller, Nichols asked whether the obstruction of a government proceeding statute could have been violated by a person who simply "called Vice President Pence to seek to have him adjudge the certification in a particular way."
He never said Trump's name.
Justice Department prosecutor James Pearce dismissed it, but then thought again, saying that it likely would apply if the person knew Pence had an obligation under the Constitution to merely count the votes and recognize the result.
“If that person does that knowing it is not an available argument [and is] asking the vice president to do something the individual knows is wrongful … one of the definitions of ‘corruptly’ is trying to get someone to violate a legal duty,” Pearce said.
Goodman noted that Mark Meadows could be on the hook for this as well. According to text messages between Ivanka Trump and Meadows, implying that Meadows was involved in the pressure campaign against Pence.
The Committee letter said "Also, on the evening of January 5th, you texted Mr. Meadows: 'Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.' What communications or information led you conclude that the White House Counsel would leave? What precisely did you know at the time?"
See the letter excerpt from Goodman below:
<thread> #January6thCommittee's letter to Ivanka Trump signals:\n\nCommittee has testimony (via General Kellogg) and docs that point to Trump's illegally pressuring Pence to overturn the election.\n\nKey here: criminal obstruction of 1/6 proceedings for which many have been indicted.pic.twitter.com/rexM33AxPq— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman) 1642701176
Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin is serving 22 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American.
Now the other three ex-police officers on the scene are going on trial for their actions that day -- or rather their failure to take action.
Jury selection began Thursday in the federal trial of Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, accused of violating Floyd's civil rights.
Chauvin was convicted of murder in a state trial and pleaded guilty last month to federal charges of using excessive force during Floyd's May 25, 2020 arrest for allegedly using a fake $20 to buy a pack of cigarettes.
Floyd's death, which was filmed by a bystander on a cellphone, set off months of protests in the United States against racial injustice and police brutality.
Chauvin kept his knee on the handcuffed Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes, while Kueng was on his back and Lane held his legs.
Thao kept back bystanders who were pleading with Chauvin to get off the neck of a visibly distressed Floyd, who eventually passed out and died.
Chauvin was an 18-year-old veteran of the Minneapolis police force; Thao had served for eight years while Kueng and Lane were new recruits, having joined the department in December 2019.
Thao, Kueng and Lane are to face Minnesota state charges in connection with Floyd's death in a trial scheduled to begin on June 13.
But in a sign of the importance of the case, federal prosecutors also filed charges against them.
The indictment charges Thao, Kueng and Lane with showing "deliberate indifference to (Floyd's) serious medical needs."
Thao and Kueng also "willfully failed to intervene" to stop Chauvin's "use of unreasonable force" against Floyd, according to the indictment.
Lane does not face the second charge. Video of the arrest shows that on two occasions during Floyd's arrest, Lane suggested that he be rolled over on his side.
Not guilty pleas
The federal trial is being held in a heavily guarded courtroom in Saint Paul, the sister city to Minneapolis.
All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Lawyers for Kueng and Lane are expected to argue during the trial that the men were not in a position to challenge the authority of Chauvin, the senior officer on the scene.
Thao's attorney is expected to claim that his client's attention was focused on keeping back the onlookers, and he was not aware of Floyd's condition.
The judge hearing the case has set aside two days for jury selection. The trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks, could start on Monday.
Unlike Chauvin's state trial, the federal trial is not being televised.
© 2022 AFP
WATCH: Former Trump advisor struggles to explain why his 'free speech' platform booted a white nationalist
Longtime Donald Trump advisor Jason Miller is struggling to explain why his new social media platform, Gettr, banned prominent white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes.
Gettr bills itself as a "brand new social media platform founded on the principles of free speech, independent thought and rejecting political censorship and 'cancel culture.'"
But Fuentes, who was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, was banned.
“What is the point of a free-speech alternative to Twitter...that doesn’t even honor free speech?” Fuentes asked.
Podcaster Tim Pool this week asked Miller about how his company is enforcing its free speech standards.
"Bro, I don't think you've got an argument here, man," Pool said.
"It sounds like complete bullsh*t," he explained. "So it's really difficult for me to like, to understand exactly what he did wrong. The issue for me is that when I asked you, you don't seem to know either."