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Trump probably broke the law in an effort to obstruct Jan. 6 proceedings, judge says

A federal judge presiding over a civil suit involving the House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol found Monday that former President Donald Trump “likely attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress” on Jan. 6, which would be a crime.

 “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Judge David Carter wrote of Trump and lawyer John Eastman’s plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence determine the results of the 2020 election.

“Every American — and certainly the president of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this ‘BOLD,’ President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle. Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Carter wrote, ordering e-mails that Eastman wrote furthering the plan to be turned over to the Jan. 6 committee.

NBC News reached out to Eastman lawyers and spokespeople for Trump for comment.

John Eastman speaks about his plans to sue the University of Colorado Boulder on April 29, 2021, in Boulder.John Eastman speaks about his plans to sue the University of Colorado Boulder on April 29, 2021, in Boulder. The university relieved Eastman of his public duties as a visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy after he spoke at President Donald Trump’s rally preceding the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.Andy Cross / The Denver Post via Getty Images file

Carter’s ruling was in a civil case, where the burden of proof is less than a criminal case.  

In the ruling, the judge wrote that “Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history. Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory. The plan spurred violent attacks on the seat of our nation’s government, led to the deaths of several law enforcement officers, and deepened public distrust in our political process.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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