Professor of Law Emeritus William Banks speaks with CBS News About the Legal Implications of the Third January 6th Committee Hearing

Professor of Law Emeritus William Banks

Professor of Law Emeritus William Banks spoke with CBS News anchor Jamie Yuccas regarding the legal implications of the findings from the third hearing of the House select committee hearings on the January 6th Capitol riots.

According to the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol, aides to former Vice President Mike Pence revealed that conservative lawyer John Eastman pressured Pence to reject certification of the 2020 election. 

“I think Eastman revealed through Mr. Pence’s council that he knew full well that Pence did not have the legal authority to refuse to certify the election,” Banks said. “So he attempted to interfere with the execution of a federal official, the vice president of the United States, through a dubious legal theory that he himself knew not to be valid.” Given the fact that Eastman later went on to seek a pardon, Banks believes he knew that “he was in hot water.”

When asked if we will see any prosecutions from this trial, Banks indicated that it is hard to say at this point. “It’s not up to Congress to decide if criminal cases are brought. It is up to the Justice Department. The Justice Department can decide whether to act on its own, wait for Congressional referrals and evaluate those referrals, or they can simply decide not to initiate prosecutions in several of these instances that are the focus of the hearing.”

Banks does not believe that there will be prosecutions against the high-ranking officials, as they are tough cases to prove given an obstruction case requires an intention to violate the law.