For the first time, Jan. 6 committee alleges Trump, others engaged in criminal conspiracy to overturn election

  • The Jan. 6 committee said it had evidence Trump 'engaged in criminal conspiracy to defraud" the U.S.
  • It marks the first time the House panel has alleged criminal wrongdoing.
  • It was not immediately clear if the committee would refer its conclusions to the Justice Department.

The special House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack said for the first time that it had gathered evidence indicating that former President Donald Trump and others "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."

The committee alleged in Wednesday court documents that the conspiracy occurred as Trump and his associates pushed false theories of election fraud and pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to invalidate the 2020 election.

"The evidence supports an inference that President Trump and members of his campaign knew he had not won enough legitimate state electoral votes to be declared the winner of the 2020 Presidential election during the January 6 Joint Session of Congress," the committee disclosed in court documents. "But the President nevertheless sought to use the Vice President to manipulate the results in his favor."

WATCH:Former President Donald Trump's social media app Truth Social launches

FEBRUARY:A Texas man will be the first Jan. 6 defendant to face a jury. His trial could set the tone for others.

The committee's extraordinary filing was part of its continuing legal effort to force former Trump legal adviser John Eastman to disclose documents that the committee says outline a scheme to overturn the election.

President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of The Trump Organization, on Jan. 11, 2017,  in New York.

As part of Eastman's plan, according to the documents, Trump repeatedly pushed Pence to "exercise unilateral authority illegally, as presiding officer of the Joint Session of Congress, to refuse to count electoral votes."

"In service of this effort, he and (Eastman) met with the Vice President and his staff several times to advocate that he unilaterally reject and refuse to count or prevent the counting of certified electoral votes, and both also engaged in a public campaign to pressure the Vice President," the committee documents state.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has said the panel would be "obligated" to refer evidence of potential crimes to the Justice Department.

More:Who has been subpoenaed so far by the Jan. 6 committee?

It was not immediately clear whether the committee intended to refer its conclusions it made public Wednesday to the Justice Department.

The new filing marked the first time the committee has made such a pointed assertion, while claiming that evidence supported its conclusion.

"If, in the course of our review, we find something that we think warrants review or recommendation to the Department of Justice, to be honest with you, we will do it," Thompson told ABC's This Week in January.

On Wednesday, Thompson and Co-Chair Liz Cheney appeared to indicate that such evidence exists.

"The facts we’ve gathered strongly suggest that Dr. Eastman’s emails may show that he helped Donald Trump advance a corrupt scheme to obstruct the counting of electoral college ballots and a conspiracy to impede the transfer of power," the panel leaders said in a joint statement.

NY JUDGE:Donald Trump, children must testify in investigation of business practices

ATLANTA-AREA DA:More than 100 potential witnesses identified in Trump investigation

Trump faces investigations in New York, Georgia

Trump denied wrongdoing, saying he was only challenging what he called "a rigged election."

He again accused the committee of playing politics.

"The Unselect Committee’s sole goal is to try to prevent President Trump, who is leading by large margins in every poll, from running again for president, if I so choose," Trump said in a written statement cataloging his complaints about the 2020 election.

The allegations outlined by the committee further underscore the potential legal jeopardy facing the former president.

In New York, Attorney General Letitia James is engaged in a continuing fight to secure the depositions of Trump and two of his children in a wide-ranging civil fraud inquiry related to the family business operations.

A parallel criminal investigation, led by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, appeared to be thrown into some doubt last week when two prosecutors overseeing the probe abruptly resigned.

In Georgia, the Atlanta-area district attorney is pursuing a separate criminal investigation into Trump's efforts to intervene in the state's election.