The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: 2020 presidential election

Ranting Cruz Votes No On Bipartisan Bill To Stop Electoral Coup (VIDEO)

The Senate Rules Committee voted 14-1 to advance the Electoral Count Act, legislation designed to prevent another coup like the one led by defeated President Donald Trump, and Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, on January 6, 2021. Every Democrat and every Republican except the junior GOP Senator from Texas voted for the legislation.

The bill is even supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But according to Sen. Cruz, who once bragged he was “leading the charge” to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the bill is “all about” Donald Trump.

With so many stories published about the GOP’s efforts to keep Trump in the White House despite Joe Biden winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College by large margins, some may have missed The Washington Posts reporting back in March the shows “just how deeply” Cruz “was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power.”

“As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles,” the Post notes.

“Cruz’s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in particular whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyer John Eastman, a conservative attorney who has been his friend for decades and who wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Biden’s victory.”

On Tuesday Cruz railed against the Electoral Count Act, which would make the January 6 attempt to overturn the election at least more difficult, as his fellow Republicans seemed to ignore his outburst.

“This bill is all about Donald J. Trump,” Cruz declared, not realizing that he was indicting the former president by saying so. “And nobody in our lifetimes has driven Democrats in this body more out of their mind than President Trump.”

“This bill is a bad bill, this bill is bad law,” Cruz complained. “It’s bad policy and it’s bad for democracy,” he added, despite every other Republican on the committee voting for it and several Republicans voting for the House version.

What he did not say is that no Democrat has ever conspired to overturn an election and execute a coup.

Senator Angus King (I-ME) after Cruz’s rant, reminded the committee the bill does not “come out of the blue,” saying it is “a modification of a 150-year old law.”

“It’s not a new effort of Congress to intrude into the electoral process,” he said, taking a gentle swipe at Cruz.

“I watched this,” NPR’s Peter Sagal said of Cruz’s remarks, “and what’s remarkable is to the extent to which all the other Senators (with the exception of a mild correction from Sen King) simply ignore him.”

He went on to note the bill “merely intended to clarify” the existing law, “which virtually everyone … has agreed is archaic and confusing.”

Despite all his bravado, the bill did advance out of committee almost unanimously, with the exception of Cruz’s lone no vote.

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Republican 'Election Integrity' Official Eyed For Role In Fake Elector Scheme

The rapidly expanding federal probe into the events of January 6, 2021 appears to be focused on a senior Republican National Committee official, Politico reports.

The Justice Department, according to reports, has issued subpoenas in the seven battleground states where former President Donald Trump’s campaign and his allies pushed slates of fake electors as part of a failed campaign to subvert the electoral count.

Subpoenas issued to some witnesses in the DOJ fake elector investigation include the name of Joshua Findlay, the RNC’s national "director for election integrity."

Three witnesses — two in Arizona and one in Georgia — received subpoenas from the DOJ demanding that they turn over all correspondence “[t]o, from, with, or including” Findlay, whom the report notes served Trump’s 2020 campaign in various capacities, including as a lawyer on the campaign’s legal team, before joining the RNC.

According to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Findlay’s role is to ensure “voters have confidence in future election processes" -- an ironic description for an official who promoted fake electors.

Findlay is not a central figure in the House Select Committee’s January 6 investigation. However, the head of the Trump campaign’s legal team, Matt Morgan, mentioned Findlay in his testimony to the congressional panel.

“At that point, I had Josh Findlay email Mr. Chesebro politely to say, ‘This is your task,’” Morgan said in taped testimony aired by the committee at a January 6 hearing last month. “‘You are responsible for the Electoral College issues moving forward.’ And this was my way of taking that responsibility to zero,” Morgan added.

Last December, Findlay received an email from the head of the Georgia Republican Party — who himself was a fake elector — “directing one of his subordinates to contact Findlay about the alternate elector plans,” Politico reported.

Findlay’s participation in the alternate elector scheme went well beyond Election Day 2020, explaining the DOJ’s interest in his communications as it ramps up its January 6 investigation.

“Election integrity” director Findlay assumed his position at the RNC after President Biden’s inauguration, a time rife with false allegations of voter fraud repeatedly disseminated by Trump and his inner circle, as well as his other allies at all levels of government.

Last Tuesday, Findlay touted his party’s plans to “train and build the largest, most well-prepared election integrity organization in the history of the Republican Party.”

“We need to put eyes on every part of this election process,” Findlay said. He also stated that the RNC plans to “recruit and train and place volunteers to watch every aspect of every election to make sure that Democrats aren’t committing fraud, that election administrators are not abusing their position, and just to make sure that there’s no mistake in what’s happening across the board.”

Bannon's Bluster Exposed The Trump Coup Before It Even Began

In the world according to former President Donald Trump and his apologists, the former president sincerely believed — and still believes — that election fraud and "irregular" voting deprived him of victory in the 2020 election. They will tell you that he never thought those he had summoned to Washington on January 6 would physically attack the Capitol, and that rather than inciting violence, he tried to send the mob home "in peace."

But the evidence that continues to emerge is vaporizing that fabricated version of events, despite the increasingly frantic and obscene repetition of his insulting lies. As the true story of Trump's attempted coup unfolds, it is more and more obvious that he not only knew the fraud claims were false, but that he and his criminal gang had planned their election deception for months in advance.

The latest proof comes directly from the mouth of Steve Bannon, the crypto-fascist agitator who formerly served Trump as his 2016 campaign manager and White House political strategist.

On July 12, Mother Jones magazine published an audiotape of Bannon boasting privately about Trump's strategy of deception on Oct. 31, 2020, a few days before the election. Speaking to a group of right-wing Chinese immigrants sponsored by Guo Wengui, a dubious business figure who backs Bannon's political ventures, he predicted in accurate detail how Trump would behave on Election Night.

After noting that Republicans would tend to vote in person while Democrats were more likely to vote by mail, Bannon explained why this meant a delay in counting ballots that afforded Trump a "natural advantage... And Trump's going to take advantage of it. That's our strategy. He's gonna declare himself a winner."

Their simple plan was to exploit the "red mirage" of an early lead.

"What Trump's gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He's gonna declare victory. But that doesn't mean he's a winner," Bannon chortled. "He's just gonna say he's a winner." Describing what would happen when, as Bannon expected, Trump amassed an early lead in key states, he added, "As it sits here today," at 10 or 11 o'clock Trump's gonna walk in the Oval, tweet out, 'I'm the winner. Game over. Suck on that.'"

Of course, there was no way for Bannon or Trump to know on Election Night how many votes would ultimately accrue to either candidate, or whether any irregularity or "fraud" swayed the outcome. Nor did any of that matter to them at all. Days before a single vote was tallied, Bannon knew that his candidate would claim victory, ignore the actual votes of Americans and deny the peaceful transfer of power, possibly by instigating violence.

At no point on the hourlong tape does Bannon proffer any complaints about actual Democratic "fraud," the Big Lie he and Trump and their claque have since shrieked so insistently. No, there isn't even a hint of the usual fake indignation that is a favorite GOP propaganda tactic. Instead, he laughs about the very real and cold-blooded fraud that his old boss is about to perpetrate on American democracy — and the bloody response that he hopes will ensue.

Those remarks were the ranting of a criminal conspirator, in Bannon's case a remorseless crook whose monetizing of political extremism earned him a federal fraud indictment for swindling Trump's gullible donors in his "We Build the Wall" scheme. According to The Washington Post, Trump pardoned him (though not his co-conspirators) because of his ardent advocacy of the Big Lie and support for the attempted January 6 coup. He was in frequent contact with Trump, speaking to the then-president on January 5 and 6, 2021, and was present in the Trump campaign "war room" at the Willard Hotel on those days leading up to the coup and insurrection.

But now he is under indictment again, for defying a House select committee subpoena, and he has been trying to worm his way out of that difficulty by promising to testify. It's too late for that, however. He will almost certainly be convicted of contempt, with a potential sentence of two years in prison and large fines. The gravity of his offenses makes a maximum penalty imperative — unless he finally abandons his authoritarian daydreams, turns over every document and testifies fully and honestly.

Bannon knows much more about the plot against America than he has revealed so far. The Justice Department's constitutional duty is to squeeze the truth out of him — and all of the treacherous gang around Trump.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Georgia Judge Orders 'Necessary And Material Witness' Graham To Testify

Despite promising to fight the subpoena, Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been ordered to obey the Fulton County, Georgia special criminal grand jury’s order to testify

“Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Monday that Graham will be required to testify on August 2 after Graham said he would fight a subpoena to testify, citing executive privilege,” WSBTV reports.

Graham reportedly had asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “to reexamine ‘certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.”

Last week Graham’s attorneys defiantly declared the subpoena was “all politics.”

“Fulton County is engaged in a fishing expedition and working in concert with the January 6 Committee in Washington,” the attorneys for the Republican Senator said in a statement. “Any information from an interview or deposition with Senator Graham would immediately be shared with the January 6 Committee. Should it stand, the subpoena issued today would erode the constitutional balance of power and the ability of a Member of Congress to do their job.”

Supreme Court Threatens To Wreak Havoc In Battleground State Elections

During the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, more than 60 of Donald Trump’s lawsuits were readily dismissed by state and federal courts that cited a lack of evidence and rejected a radical argument in some cases – that only state legislatures were authorized by the U.S. Constitution to run elections.

Trump embraced that argument, called the independent state legislature (ISL) theory, as a way to overturn his defeat in key states. It had been gathering dust in right-wing think tanks and academia where it was championed under the banner of "constitutional originalism," whose adherents want government to mimic what the founders established in the 18th century.

As the January 6 hearings have shown, Trump saw the assertion of legislative authority as one way to seize a second term despite his rejection by voters. Republican-majority legislatures, led by his loyalists, theoretically could bypass their state’s popular vote and appoint pro-Trump Electoral College members. Even though courts rejected Trump’s lawsuits, and no legislature followed that script, 84 GOP activists and officials in seven swing states forged documents giving Trump their Electoral College votes.

“There is no legal theory that is more closely connected to Trumpism and the failed January 6 coup,” Marc Elias, a Democratic Party lawyer, wrote in a July 6 blog.

The notion that arch-partisans should subvert elections did not end with Trump’s defeat. Instead of receding into ignominy, his attempt to push state legislators to muscle their partisan outcomes can now be seen as opening a wider window with potentially deep anti-democratic consequences.

Unlike Trump’s bungling lawyers, the activist Supreme Court will hear a case next fall that centers on the independent state legislature theory. The narrow question in Moore v. Harper is whether the North Carolina Supreme Court can overrule its legislature that drew gerrymandered districts. If some version of the ISL theory is validated, the Supreme Court could eventually gut the modern system of checks and balances that govern state elections.

“This would be as deep a dig into American democracy that we’ve seen in at least a century,” said Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Policy and Governance. “Just look at the recent period. Both Democratic and Republican states have passed laws to enhance their party’s opportunities in November and have had their supreme courts step in and reject those.”

“And that’s an example of the kind of institutional battle that the American system of separation of powers, both at the national level and the state level, has invited,” he said. “What the North Carolina case foretells, if it’s actually upheld by the Supreme Court, is an end to that at the state level. It would remove the state courts as a check on the rapacious use of partisan power.”

Jacobs and other election scholars emphasize that the acceptance of a case does not mean that the court’s mind is made up – even though three justices have said in other rulings that they support the independent state legislature theory. But rather than reject the case outright, the Supreme Court is lending credence to a power grab that has been, until now, inconceivable in mainstream legal circles.

“The ultimate big problem with ISL theory is that we’ve always run our elections differently,” said Thomas Wolf, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. “You really do end up where the legislature is essentially supreme with the exception of some federal constitutional, or some federal legal checks, on their power.”

Runaway Trump Republicans

The 2020 election’s aftermath has shown what Trump Republicans are willing to do – and suggests what the Supreme Court might validate or incite.

The cadre that forged Electoral College documents in swing states was not alone. On January 6, 2021, after a mob delayed Congress’s certification of the Electoral College winner, eight senators and 139 representatives voted to reject Biden’s victory. Back in battleground state capitals, pro-Trump legislators followed up by launching bad-faith investigations to hunt for illegal voting – Trump’s excuse for why he lost; not that he was rejected by GOP moderates.

The post-2020 legislative inquiries found nothing. But the disinformation they sparked on pro-Trump media convinced his base that Joe Biden was not elected legitimately. Legislatures are not courtrooms. The pro-Trump legislators faced no penalty for indulging evidence-free conspiracies apart from not getting re-elected. (As of mid-June 2022, more than 100 election-denying candidates for statewide office or Congress have won their GOP primary.)

The big lie, nonetheless, led to Republican-controlled legislatures passing new laws to complicate voting in Democratic strongholds. Democratic governors in states like Michigan, where Republicans control the legislature, vetoed the new laws. Republican governors in Florida, Georgia and Arizona signed them.

While many of the initial reactions to the Supreme Court’s acceptance of Moore v. Harper have concerned its potential impact in 2024’s presidential election, further reflection by election experts suggests that any embrace of the ISL theory could enable major backsliding on the frontlines of American democracy.

The fallout could include the dismantling of nonpartisan government election administration by replacing best practices – which, during 2020’s pandemic, allowed for more voting options – with brazen partisan schemes.

“There’s the cataclysmic potential impact on the separation of powers in the American federal system,” said Jacobs, who also oversees a program that trains election officials. “There’s also a practical impact of the nonpartisan professional administration of elections, the work that very few Americans know about, but that’s responsible for the fair conduct of our electoral machinery.”

Election Administration Impacts

A few pundits have asked what state legislatures could do if they faced no checks and balances from their state constitution, state supreme court, gubernatorial vetoes, and state agencies. One scenario is legislators could grant themselves the power to certify all winners. But the possible impacts are much wider and more local, as a look at post-2020 litigation, legislation and enacted laws reveals.

“In the run up to the November 2020 presidential election, state courts heard and considered dozens of cases involving the application of state election law,” Elias noted. “As importantly, after the election, Trump and his allies lost 28 lawsuits in state court, nine of which involved the Trump campaign itself. In 2021, at least 39 voting rights and redistricting lawsuits were decided at the state court level.”

The scope of these lawsuits and legislation involves almost every stage in voting and counting ballots. Before 2020’s Election Day, there was litigation about voter registration, voter purges, voter ID laws, limits to voter assistance, absentee ballot requirements, use of drop boxes to return those ballots, absentee ballot return deadlines, timetables for fixing mistakes by voters and more.

In response to Trump’s loss, Republican-led legislatures have imposed new limits on voter assistance, rolled back voting with mailed out ballots, expanded partisan observers and imposed penalties on election officials who may seek to maintain order, and, in Georgia, reconstituted local election boards with GOP appointees.

In other words, partisan legislatures that face no checks and balances could drastically change how their state’s elections are run. That reaction was seen in 2013 in many southern states, after the Supreme Court ended the Justice Department’s federal oversight of new election laws and rules under the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Like today’s abrupt shuttering of abortion providers in red states, that 2013 ruling saw numerous voting restrictions erupt.

A May 2022 report by a trio of pro-democracy groups, A Democracy Crisis in the Making: How State Legislatures are Politicizing, Criminalizing, and Interfering with Election Administration, previews what may come if the ISL theory is validated.

The groups tracked hundreds of bills in 32 states and found five categories of legislative overreach: “Usurping control over election results,” “Requiring partisan or unprofessional ‘audits’ or reviews,” “Seizing power over election responsibilities,” “Creating unworkable burdens in election administration,” and “Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.”

Enacting these measures would upend America’s elections – damaging voters, election officials and the legitimacy of US democracy – it concluded.

“Left unchecked, these legislative proposals threaten to paralyze the smooth functioning of elections,” it said. “Election administrators could be left powerless to stop voter intimidation. Election rules could devolve into a confusing and contradictory tangle, subject to change at the whims of partisan lawmakers. Election results could be endlessly called into question and subjected to never-ending, destructive reviews conducted based on no responsible standard. At the extreme, election results could simply be tossed aside, and the will of the people ignored.”

The key phrase from that assessment was “left unchecked,” which is exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court’s originalists might unleash in Moore v. Harper.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Right-Wing Media Spurred Racist Death Threats Against Election Workers

Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, testified today about the harassment and threats she received after she was targeted in a right-wing media-driven conspiracy theory about Democrats stealing the 2020 presidential election in the state. Moss spoke to the January 6 congressional committee today about the racist threats against her which followed the widespread coverage.

Moss said she wanted to work in election administration because her grandmother emphasized that voting was not always a right that Black people had in the United States. Due to the threats and harassment she received, she's been forced to leave her job.

Moss also detailed a break-in at her grandmother’s house in which people “knocked on her door” and “just started pushing their way through, claiming that they were coming in to make a citizen’s arrest.” The committee also played footage from the testimony that her mother and fellow election worker, Ruby Freeman, gave prior to the hearing, in which she described how her life had been turned upside down by right-wing conspiracy theories.

Moss and Freeman were targeted following the release of footage that the Trump campaign claimed provided evidence of voter fraud. The footage provoked a false conspiracy theory that the Georgia poll workers unloaded ballots from a concealed suitcase in order to sway the election results. The conspiracy theory has been repeatedly debunked. By the beginning of January, Freeman had evacuated her home after the FBI concluded she was no longer safe in the days preceding January 6.

Moss and Freeman have sued The Gateway Pundit and One America News Network for their coverage of the footage that spurred the false conspiracy theory. OAN was later dismissed from the suit. Fox News and other right-wing outlets repeatedly covered the footage of Moss and Freeman, though the network never explicitly named the two workers.

  • On the December 3, 2020, edition of The Five, co-host Jesse Watters played the video and asked Fox News “straight news” host Martha MacCallum whether then-Attorney General Bill Barr would look into the footage.
  • Fox host Tucker Carlson also aired the footage on his December 3, 2020, show and called it “pretty unbelievable” that the video showed “poll workers pulling ballots out of suitcases.”
  • During Sean Hannity’s hour on the same night, the Fox host also aired the footage and singled out Moss by spot shadowing her and saying, “Look at her right there.” A Trump campaign representative, Jacki Pick, repeatedly referred to Moss as “the lady with the blonde braids.”
  • On the December 7, 2020, edition of his show, Hannity again played the footage and claimed Moss and other election workers pulled out suitcases “apparently filled with thousands and thousands of ballots, which were then counted by the workers that were allowed to remain in the room that pulled them out of the suitcases they conveniently had there, without partisan observers, without the media.”
  • Right-wing news site The Federalist also published an article on December 7, 2020, attempting to refute verified debunkings of the conspiracy theory. It claimed “Big Tech” did not even come “close” to debunking the election fraud theories.
  • At the end of December 2020, Fox began airing advertisements paid for by the Trump campaign that included the footage and repeated the debunked claims that the containers shown in the video were filled with somehow fraudulent Democratic ballots.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Ron Johnson Implicated In Trump’s Fake Elector Scheme

The January 6 select committee released a text message from the Wisconsin Republican senator's staff trying to submit fraudulent electors.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) attempted to help subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, text messages released by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection revealed on Tuesday.

As part of its televised hearing, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol revealed that Sean Riley, Johnson's chief of staff, attempted to arrange to transmit fraudulent Electoral College certificates to then-Vice President Mike Pence falsely showing that defeated President Donald Trump had won Michigan and Wisconsin.

Casey Lucier, an investigative counsel for the committee, said in the presentation that at the behest of the Trump campaign, "a staffer for Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson texted a staffer for Vice President Pence just minutes before the beginning of the joint session" at which the House and Senate would receive the Electoral College results and certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Riley messaged Chris Hodgson, Pence's director of legislative affairs, at 12:37 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, saying, "Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise." Asked what the item was, Riley answered, "Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them."

Hodgson responded, "Do not give that to him."

Biden won the popular vote in Michigan and Wisconsin in November 2020 — as well as in swing states Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, and Pennsylvania — and thus earned all of those states' votes in the 538-member Electoral College.

But 84 Trump supporters in those seven states pretended to be electors and tried to cast electoral votes for Trump. The New Mexico and Pennsylvania fake delegations wrote that their votes should be counted only if the election was disputed (which Pennsylvania's results ultimately were), while the rest simply falsely declared themselves to be the legitimate electors.

Federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating the false Trump electors' plan to overturn the election.

The January 6 committee documented that the Trump campaign was deeply involved with this effort — part of what Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said Sunday amounted to a "seditious conspiracy."

While Johnson initially backed the scheme to reject Biden's win in some of the swing states, he ultimately voted to uphold Biden's win after Trump supporters' invasion of the U.S. Capitol delayed the joint session for several hours.

In September 2021, Wisconsin Public Radio reported that a recording — apparently made without Johnson's awareness — captured the Republican senator admitting that there was "nothing obviously skewed about the results" of the 2020 election in Wisconsin.

"The only reason Trump lost Wisconsin is 51,000 Republican voters didn't vote for him," Johnson said in the recording. "If all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for [Wisconsin State] Assembly candidates, he would have won. He didn't get 51,000 votes other Republicans got — that's why he lost."

In response to a request by the American Independent Foundation for comment, Johnson spokesperson Alexa Henning shared a pair of tweets minimizing — but not actually denying anything about — the committee's findings.

"The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office. This was a staff to staff exchange. His new Chief of Staff contacted the Vice President's office," Henning wrote. "The Vice President's office said not to give it to him and we did not. There was no further action taken. End of story."

Johnson, who is seeking a third term this November despite promising to limit his tenure to two terms, already faced an uphill battle for re-election before this latest revelation.

The four Democratic candidates seeking the Senate nomination seized on Tuesday's news and condemned Johnson's role in the conspiracy.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes released a statement calling for Johnson to step down: "Ron Johnson actively tried to undermine this democracy. He literally tried to hand Mike Pence fake ballots. Once again, Ron Johnson has proven he's a danger to our country and our fundamental rights. I'm calling for him to resign immediately."

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski tweeted, "There it is. Ron Johnson was directly involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election and overrule the will of Wisconsin voters. He is a threat to our democracy and a disgrace to our state."

Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry wrote, "Ron Johnson is a seditious traitor and a danger to democracy."

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson added: "The @January6thCmte just introduced evidence that fully implicates @SenRonJohnson in the 'fake elector' scheme to overthrow American democracy. Tell me how this isn't a crime? I've called for him to be subpoenaed by the committee. I hope the @USDOJ pays attention as well."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Eastman Devised Scheme For GOP Theft Of 2020 Pennsylvania Vote

Former Trump attorney John Eastman colluded with a Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania to formulate a pretext to seat Trump electors in a state Joe Biden won by nearly 82,000 votes. Their communications were discovered on his University of Colorado email account. It was a last ditch-bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election, as the new emails obtained by the House Select Committee show.

Eastman devised a sinister idea to label tens of thousands of absentee ballots illegitimate, thus giving then-President Trump the state’s popular vote lead. This method, Eastman proposed, “would help provide some cover,” beneath which Republicans could swap Biden’s electors with sham electors for Trump who would subvert the 2020 elections.

According to the emails, Eastman suggested that Republican officials voice their concerns with mailed-in ballots and, using historical data, “discount each candidate’s totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received,” according to Politico.

“Then, having done that math, you’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote. That would help provide some cover,” Eastman told Russ Diamond, the aforementioned GOP Pennsylvania state lawmaker, in a December 4, 2020, email. “That would help provide some cover.”

The messages sent to and from Eastman’s “” email address were obtained by the Colorado Ethics Institute via a request citing the state's Open Records law. A Democratic political consultant sent these emails to the House Select Committee on behalf of the institute.

The select committee sued Eastman’s former employer, Chapman University, to obtain 90,000 pages of the ex-Trump lawyer’s emails, but Eastman countersued to prevent Chapman from complying. The House panel won several rounds of that case — with a finding by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter that Eastman and Trump had “more likely than not” participated in criminal activity — and has already obtained crucial emails Eastman sent from January 4 to January 7, 2021. However, the select committee is still in court, asking to get 3,000 more pages of Eastman’s emails before its June-slated public hearings.

Eastman has claimed for months that his post-election work was “grounded in provocative-but-real legal scholarship,” per MSNBC, but the released emails, which underscore the length to which he tried to distort reality to earn Trump undeserved electors, render the attorney’s point moot.

"Here in Pennsylvania, numerous other frustrated colleagues and I are searching for legislative solutions to our current national predicament," Eastman told Diamond in another December 4 email. The “predicament” was Biden winning the state by tens of thousands of votes.

Not satisfied with the preponderance of advice he’d given Diamond on the language of his resolution, Eastman even offered to carry out specific line edits on the proposed resolution, the Washington Post reported.

“I would also include after paragraph 3 a specific legislative determination that the slate of electors certified by the governor under the illegally-conducted election are also null and void,” Eastman suggested.

When contacted by 9news for comment, Eastman rejected claims of wrongdoing on his part.

"I wasn't even aware that I had used a [University of] Colorado email, but somebody obviously reached out to me using that email and I just hit reply," said Eastman. "Look, I'm a constitutional expert. The notion that a legislator would reach out to me seeking my input on a key constitutional issue is not a surprise and well within my normal academic duties," Eastman said.

A member of the select committee disagreed. “Eastman wasn’t doing anything that Trump wasn’t doing himself,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told the Washington Post. “They,” he added, referring to Eastman and his cohorts, “were both trying to get officials in the electoral process to substitute a counterfeit for the actual vote totals.”

As the subject of investigations and lawsuits, Eastman turned to his far-right supporters for financial aid for his “Legal Defense Fund” and has raised nearly $180,000 in a crowdfunding drive, where he painted himself a victim of “hard-core leftist activists” and “hyper-partisan” investigators.