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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Is Trump Gang Setting Up John Eastman As Fall Guy In Coup Plot?

According to reporting from Rolling Stone, former President Donald Trump and friends are preparing to feed conservative attorney John Eastman to the wolves.

Eastman and his “coup memo” have brought way too much heat on Trump following the House’s Jan. 6 committee hearings, outlining his role in assisting the former president’s efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and making the legal case for former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the certification of the Electoral College.

One of three primary sources with direct information on the topic told Rolling Stone, “It has been repeatedly communicated to the [former] president that he should not even bring up Johnny Eastman’s name because he is maybe the most radioactive person [involved in this] when it comes to … any so-called criminal exposure.”

Rolling Stone reports that Trump has decided not to defend or even talk about Eastman, has instructed his team not to discuss him, and has said privately that he “hardly” or “barely” knows him. As Trump's social media platform Truth Social shows, as much talking as he does, Eastman’s name has been almost nonexistent.

Before turning to conservative constitutional law, Eastman worked as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“Johnny does not have many friends in [the upper crust of] Trumpworld left, and most people loyal to the [former] president are fine with him being left out on his own, to deal with whatever consequences he may or may not face,” a source said.

Last Thursday, during the public Congressional hearings, Eric Herschmann, a Trump White House attorney, said that following the insurrection, he told Eastman to “get a great fucking criminal defense lawyer” because “you’re going to need it.” Eastman then infamously emailed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to say, “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list if that is still in the works.”

As Rolling Stone reports, the idea of Eastman as a patsy has become a common conversation.

Last week, Mark Levin, a Fox News and radio host, said:

“How many lawyers did Trump have? He had several … And John Eastman has turned into the fall guy. … He’s a lawyer, he’s an advocate for the [former] president. Whether you agree with his legal judgment, his legal findings, or not, it’s what lawyers do.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

John Eastman Trying To Conceal Trump’s Direct Role In Coup Plot

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.

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 “colorado.edu” 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.

Coup Plotter Eastman Claims Privilege Over 37,000 Emails Sought By Select Committee

On Monday, April 18, far-right attorney John C. Eastman — who is infamous for a memo outlining a plan for former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election results — revealed that he has asserted attorney-client privilege over 37,000 pages of e-mails that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on January 6, 2021 has been seeking.

According to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, “The January 6 select committee has objected to ‘every claim’ over those pages, which now sends the gargantuan dispute to U.S. District Court Judge David Carter for a case-by-case review. Eastman revealed the scope of the dispute in a status report to Carter, concluding a three-month review that Carter demanded he undertake. Since January, Eastman has been reviewing 1000 to 1500 pages per day.”

Carter, in a recent ruling, was highly critical of Trump and Eastman’s actions following the 2020 presidential election. The federal judge ruled that they “more likely than not” engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct the joint session of Congress held on January 6, 2021, when now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory was certified. And Carter described efforts to overturn the election results as a “coup in search of a legal theory.”

Carter, Cheney notes, “has described the select committee’s work as urgent” but “must now determine how to parse these 37,000 pages” of e-mails “in time for the committee to employ them in its ongoing investigation of Trump’s effort to subvert the transfer of power.”

“The e-mails are all drawn from Chapman University, where Eastman was employed until shortly after January 6,” Cheney explains. “The committee subpoenaed Chapman to obtain the e-mails, but Eastman sued the school and the select committee to slow the process. Carter then ordered the review that Eastman undertook.”

Cheney adds, “The select committee urged Carter to prioritize documents sent from January 4 to January 7, 2021, the key period of the panel’s review. That narrower review resulted in Carter’s bombshell ruling about likely criminality by Trump. But now, Carter must turn to the broader review of Eastman’s e-mails stretching back to November 3, 2020, the date of the presidential election.”

The January 6 select committee, Cheney notes, has “raised doubts about whether Eastman was legitimately acting as Trump’s lawyer prior to January 6.”

“Eastman, under an order from Carter, produced a retainer agreement dated December 6, 2020,” Cheney writes, “but it was unsigned. And it’s not clear when it was effectuated…. Carter also ruled that Eastman did, eventually, become Trump’s attorney, noting that he filed court papers on Trump’s behalf in late December and communicated with top White House aides and other officials while representing himself as Trump’s lawyer.”

Cheney adds, “Of the 90,000 pages of e-mails subject to the select committee subpoena, about 30,000 were immediately ruled out as irrelevant mass e-mails. Eastman made no privilege claims over an additional 25,000 pages of records.”

Time is of the essence for Pelosi’s select committee, as Democrats may lose their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms — and many House Republicans don’t even believe the committee should exist. Pelosi has included two non-MAGA Republicans on the bipartisan committee: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, but the majority of House Republicans are loyal Trumpistas and resent Cheney and Kinzinger deeply for their participation.

Published with permission from Alternet.

House Panel Obtains Coup Plot Emails That Eastman Tried To Conceal

John C. Eastman was the author of an infamous two-page memo that found the far-right attorney and Donald Trump supporter outlining a scheme in which then-Vice President Mike Pence would throw out the 2020 presidential election results during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. Eastman’s insurrectionist activities have been probed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House Select Committee, which, according to CNN, has “obtained a cache of emails” that Eastman “sought to keep secret.”

CNN reporters Katelyn Polantz and Paul LeBlanc explain, “The 101 e-mails, exchanged between January 4 and January 7, 2021, were released to the committee after Judge David Carter ruled that Eastman had not made a sufficient claim to attorney-client privilege. One e-mail, a draft memo for Rudy Giuliani, was obtained by the committee because the judge decided it was potentially being used to plan a crime. The memo recommended that then-Vice President Mike Pence reject some states’ electors during the January 6 congressional meeting.”

According to Carter, “This may have been the first time (that) members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action.”

Carter, describing the e-mails, wrote, “In another e-mail thread, Dr. Eastman’s colleagues discuss whether to publish a piece supporting his plan, and they touch on state lawsuits only to criticize how they are being handled by the Trump campaign…. In a different e-mail thread, Dr. Eastman and a colleague consider how to use a state court ruling to justify Vice President Pence enacting the plan. In another e-mail, a colleague focuses on the ‘plan of action’ after the January 6 attacks.”

Efforts by the January 6 committee to obtain those e-mails, Polantz and Paul LeBlanc note, were “closely watched in the legal community because of the panel’s bold move to accuse Eastman and Trump of criminal conspiracy.”

“The House said it believed Trump had been trying to obstruct Congress and to defraud the government by blocking his loss of the election and discussing it with Eastman,” the CNN journalists note. “Still, neither Trump nor Eastman has been charged with any crimes. Further, despite the House’s filings, lawmakers aren’t prosecutors and can’t bring charges. And there is no public indication that the Justice Department is seriously investigating Eastman and Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 election.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Judge Delivers Damning Rebuke Of Trump Coup Lawyer

A federal district judge has delivered “coup memos” author John Eastman a damning rebuke as he ordered the former Chapman University School of Law professor to hand over 101 documents to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. The rebuke appears to be extended to the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Donald Trump as well.

Eastman, who is the current chairman of an anti-LGBTQ organization, the National Organization For Marriage (NOM), had argued 111 documents are privileged. The judge designated just ten that could be withheld.

“Dr. 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,” Judge David O. Carter wrote, in a ruling posted by Politico’s Kyle Cheney.

“More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still searching for accountability,” he added, in what some might see as a mild dig at the Dept. of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland. “This case cannot provide it. The Court is tasked only with deciding a dispute over a handful of emails. This is not a criminal prosecution; this is not even a civil liability suit. At most, this case is a warning about the dangers of ‘legal theories’ gone wrong, the powerful abusing public platforms, and desperation to win at all costs,” the judge wrote.

“If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution. If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself,” he added, in a stronger apparent rebuke to Eastman, Trump, Garland, and DOJ.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Emails Show Coup Plotter Eastman Knew Plan Was Illegal

John Eastman, former President Donald Trump's lawyer, was well aware that it was unlawful to obstruct the Electoral College certification of President Joe Biden's election victory, new reports reveal.

According to The Guardian, Eastman admitted in an email that the plot was a violation of the Electoral Count Act but advised former Vice President Mike Pence to move forward with the agenda anyway.

Per The Guardian: "The email exchange – revealed in court filings by the select committee last week – shows Eastman attempted to take advantage of the fact that the Electoral Count Act was not followed exactly in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol attack to try and benefit Trump."

“The Senate and House have both violated the Electoral Count Act this evening – they debated the Arizona objections for more than two hours. Violation of 3 USC 17,” Eastman wrote.

Eastman is also said to have pressured the former vice president's to support the flawed agenda describing it as "only a 'minor violation' of the statute that governed the certification procedure."

In a second portion of the email, Eastman attempted to justify his actions arguing that "the statute had already been violated in small ways – delays that amounted to a few hours at best – Pence should have no problem committing 'one more minor violation and adjourn for 10 days.'"

Eastman’s email is deeply significant becayse it suggests he "knew the scheme to delay Biden’s certification was unlawful – which the select committee believes bolsters its case that he was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruct Congress," The Guardian reports.

House Counsel Douglas Letter also weighed in with his take on Eastman’s actions and what he requested of Pence.

“It was so minor it could have changed the entire course of our democracy," Letter noted. "It could have meant the popularly elected president could have been thwarted from taking office. That was what Dr. Eastman was urging.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet