The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

National Security

Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

New details about the direct role that Donald Trump played in developing a strategy to overturn the 2020 election were revealed in a federal court filing from election coup attorney John Eastman late Thursday.

Eastman is several months into a battle to keep records of his work for Trump in the run-up to January 6 confidential. but in his latest parry to bar access to emails he says should be protected under attorney-client privilege, he has revealed that Trump sent him at least “two hand-written notes” containing information “he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation” challenging election results.

Evidence of Trump’s hand in developing this strategy is not the only thing that Eastman wants U.S. District Judge David Carter to keep away from prying eyes. He also asked the court to protect correspondence with no less than seven state legislators, White House attorneys, and other officials who received his guidance on the appointments of Trump’s so-called “alternate” electors.


Details on those officials and legislators in the filing are limited since Eastman was careful to keep their identities private.

But as first reported by Politico:

“But several of the attorneys filed declarations supporting Eastman’s descriptions of his work for Trump. Those declarations, filed under seal with the court, include attestations from Kurt Olsen, the lead lawyer in a Supreme Court lawsuit that Trump backed to overturn the election results, as well as Bruce Marks, a Pennsylvania lawyer who worked on Trump’s election litigation.”

Olsen was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee in March. His push to change election laws at the Justice Department just ahead of the Capitol attack prompted the demand for his records and testimony. Olsen, in response, countersued the select committee.

Notably, Eastman also mentions in his filing that there are at least “six conduits to or agents of the former president” that he dealt with directly when strategizing the overturn.

Three are individuals who had roles with Trump’s campaign and serve as attorneys and the other three were members of Trump’s “immediate staff and one attorney.”

“While Dr. Eastman could (and did) communicate directly with former President Trump at times, many of his communications with the President were necessarily through these agents,” the filing states.

In another section of the motion, Eastman clarifies further, saying he also “communicated directly with Trump by phone and email through his assistant or attorney agents.”

Even now, Eastman promotes claims and makes insinuations that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump. There is no evidence to support these statements. He was equally adamant in the motion to Judge Carter that the select committee probing the attack is acting unconstitutionally and prejudicially.

Time and again, however, when the committee’s standing has come up in a legal challenge, courts have found otherwise, deeming it a valid and constitutional body acting within the scope of its congressional authority.

“The Select Committee has accused Dr. Eastman and his client of acting to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress with corrupt intent, based on its claim that Dr. Eastman and his client (and others) engaged in the ‘big lie’ about election illegality and fraud. But that claim, that premise, is itself false. One might even say that the assertion of a ‘big lie’ is itself the actual Big Lie,” Eastman maintained in the motion Thursday.

This batch of emails Eastman wants hidden comprise just 600 records. The committee has requested access to 90,000 pages of records housed with Chapman University, Eastman’s former employer.

The committee initially subpoenaed Eastman directly but he refused to comply.

That decision has been a boon for the committee: Judge Carter ruled in March that Trump and Eastman “more likely than not” engaged in a conspiracy meant to stop Congress from engaging in the counting of certified votes, one of the last steps on the path to a transfer of power.

Eastman was previously revealed to be the author of a six-point pressure strategy targeting former Vice President Mike Pence. Eastman advised in the document that Pence had the final say in stopping the certification. In truth, Pence did not, his role, under the constitution, was overwhelmingly perfunctory.

The conservative attorney took a swing at Judge Carter’s ruling from March, and in particular, a section where Carter said the evidence indicated Eastman's conduct was not “driven by preserving the Constitution, but by winning the 2020 election.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Barry Loudermilk

Youtube Screenshot

The House Select Committee has requested cooperation from another sitting lawmaker; this time it is Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican, who investigators say gave a tour of the U.S. Capitol one day before a mob violently stormed the complex.

The letter sent to Loudermilk on Thursday is not a subpoena. It is a request for voluntary cooperation. Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) asked that Loudermilk make an appearance next week:

“We believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021. The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings in advance of January 6, 2021.”


The week after former President Donald Trump incited an insurrection at the Capitol, New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill alleged publicly that she witnessed sitting Republican lawmakers lead tours through the Capitol on the eve of the attack.

Other Democrats, like Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, also said they saw small “unauthorized” groups touring the Capitol on January 5. Scanlon told PhillyVoice in January that she witnessed a group of up to eight people, wearing ill-fitting face masks, on one of those tours.

This stuck out to her, Scanlon recalled at the time, because the Capitol had stopped public tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Sherrill, a moderate Democrat, a sitting member of the House Armed Services Committee, and a Navy veteran, the accusation drew sharp rebuke.

Sherrill has been publicly mum about the details of what she claims to have seen on January 5, but she did join more than two dozen other Democrats who demanded that the House and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms investigate the “suspicious behavior.”


Denials from Republicans came swiftly. Rep. Loudermilk, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee with Sherrill, lashed out by filing a complaint against her—and 33 other Democrats who called for a probe—with the House Ethics Committee.



Loudermilk called the Democrat’s request “a stain” on Congress and flatly denied that any member of the GOP led “reconnaissance tours” through the Capitol on January 5.

“Security footage captured by U.S. Capitol Police easily confirms these facts,” Loudermilk wrote in the full-throated denial.

Loudermilk was one of several Republicans on the House Administration Committee who reviewed security footage from January 6. Many of those same Republican lawmakers said after reviewing it that there were “no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”

In fact, Rep. Rodney Davis, once nominated to serve on the House Select Committee by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, led a call for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have the Capitol security footage made public.

His review, Davis said, did not support allegations from Democrats that members of the GOP led tours of the Capitol on Jan. 5. Pelosi, he screeched, must release the tapes.

But Davis was barking up the wrong tree: Pelosi does not have the authority to release U.S. Capitol security footage. That is up to the U.S. Capitol Police.

Arguably, Davis should have known that. As a member of the Committee on House Administration, he serves on a committee that, in part, oversees the Capitol Police.

Incidentally, Davis was also approved by Pelosi to serve on the January 6 committee when it was first being formed.

McCarthy nominated Davis and four other Republicans—including Trump cronies Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks—to serve in the probe. But Pelosi didn’t want Jordan or Banks and sent McCarthy back to the drawing board.

Instead of continuing negotiations, McCarthy abandoned the committee altogether and slammed it as a partisan witch hunt.

Since then, Davis has served on what amounts to a shadow committee investigating January 6. Its members are all those Republicans who were not placed on the House Select Committee, including Banks and Jordan.

The shadow panel has no subpoena power, so it has relied on voluntary cooperation only and has reportedly focused its efforts almost entirely on the U.S. Capitol Police.

Loudermilk has been a vocal opponent of the investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Before the probe was officially formed, Loudermilk said any select committee formed in Congress would fail to produce new information.

So far, the select committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and obtained critical first-hand witness testimony about what was happening inside of the White House during the insurrection incited by the former president.

Some of that information includes texts from Loudermilk to Trump’s then chief-of-staff Mark Meadows.

While a mass of the former president’s supporters—and members of domestic extremist networks like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys—carried out the assault, Loudermilk texted Meadows.

“It’s really bad up here on the Hill,” he wrote. “They have breached the Capitol.”

Meadows responded to Loudermilk that Trump was “engaging.”

Loudermilk thanked him, but he lamented where they found themselves.

    "Thanks. This doesn't help our cause," Loudermilk said.The lawmaker had spent weeks publicly promoting the idea on Twitter that election fraud was rampant in Georgia, as evidenced by posts collected in a social media field guide first compiled by Rep. Zoe Lofgren.


    A representative for Loudermilk did not respond to a request for comment to Daily Kos on Thursday.

    He did, however, tell The Guardian:



    Loudermilk ultimately voted to object to the certification of the 2020 election results on January 6 after hundreds of police officers had been badly beaten, one person had died, and the Capitol endured more than $1 million in damages.

    Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.