Dressed in a long, tan coat, paisley scarf and brown cowboy hat, conservative attorney John Eastman took the stage at the Save America rally just outside the White House to deliver a speech on Jan. 6, 2021, which is about to begin Congress began confirming the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Anything we ask of the Vice President [Mike] Pence is at 1 p.m. this afternoon, he had the state legislatures looking into this so we can get to the bottom of it and the American people will know whether or not we control the direction of our government!” Eastman yelled into a microphone.
Thousands of supporters of former President Trump stood in front of Eastman, a former Chapman University professor. A few hours later after Trump addressed them, the crowd stormed the Capitol and violently disrupted the count.
Eastman is one of many figures who played a key role in the Stop the Steal movement. His theory that Pence might reject state votes or delay confirmation of the election made him “a central player in developing a legal strategy to justify a coup,” according to Pence. Douglas letter from the General Counsel of the House.
Thursday’s House Select Committee hearing investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack is expected to focus heavily on Eastman’s role.
Who is John Eastman?
Eastman, 62, was born in Lincoln, Neb., and has a bachelor’s degree in politics and economics from the University of Dallas, a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a doctorate in government from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont.
Prior to his 21-year teaching career at Chapman University Law School in Orange, he worked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. While at Chapman, Eastman ran the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank, and founded the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a Claremont Institute-affiliated law firm representing conservative clients.
Chapman University asked him to resign after his January 6, 2021 speech.
When did Eastman meet President Trump?
Both men have long opposed the birthright of citizenship, the process that automatically confers citizenship on any child born in the United States or a US territory. In 2020, Eastman published an opinion piece questioning whether Vice President Kamala Harris, the child of two immigrants to the United States, met presidential qualifications.
Over the weekend after the November 3, 2020 election, Eastman was invited by people close to Trump to help draft a legal brief challenging the Pennsylvania election results.
Trump urged him in early December to challenge the election directly to the Supreme Court. Eastman filed two writs with the court, but efforts quickly foundered.
What is the focus of the January 6 committee?
The committee is focused on two legal memos Eastman authored in which he gave Pence two options for nullifying the election results. According to that US Constitution, the Vice President is also President of the Senate and must count Electoral College votes in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives. Eastman’s council attempted to disrupt this process in two ways.
The first option, Eastman advised, would be for Pence to announce results in key disputed battleground states, leave the votes uncounted, and tip the election in President Trump’s favor.
The second, more radical approach would require Pence to delay electoral college census certification to give state legislatures time to select a new list of voters who would vote for President Trump. Not all states have laws that require electoral college representatives to vote with a majority of the state’s population.
Testimony released by the committee shows Eastman attended several meetings with Pence’s associates, including on January 4, 2021 in the Oval Office with Trump and Pence to discuss what authority Pence held. Trump asked Pence to dismiss Electoral College votes for seven states. Eastman argued that the politically palatable option was for Pence to send Electoral College votes back to the states, but Pence could also choose to vote voters out.
Emails released by the committee also show Eastman arguing with Pence’s staff during the riot over what the vice president should do when Congress returns to complete the vote count.
“The ‘Siege’ stems from YOU and your boss not doing what was necessary for this to be broadcast publicly so that the American people could see for themselves what happened,” Eastman wrote in an email to Greg Jacob . Pence’s attorney.
When the Capitol riot ended, Eastman emailed Jacob again to say that the vice president should refuse to confirm the election and send it back to the states.
Wasn’t there another ruling by a judge involving Eastman?
Yes, on June 7, US District Judge David O. Carter Eastman ordered the January 6 committee to turn over an additional 159 documents, including one that Carter said was evidence of a crime, by a June 13 deadline . Included in those documents is a December 2020 email that Eastman wrote to ask the courts to decide on the proper interpretation of the Electoral Count Act. But such a move would have risked a court ruling preventing Pence from declining the Electoral College count.
“Because the attorney concluded that an adverse court ruling would ‘undo the January 6 strategy,’ he encouraged the legal team to avoid the courts,” Carter wrote. “This email cemented the direction of the January 6 plan. Trump’s legal team chose not to seek legal recourse to the courts — instead, they pushed a political campaign to disrupt the counting of the election.”
Did Eastman cease efforts after January 6, 2021?
no Earlier this week, the committee teased that Eastman’s efforts didn’t stop after the Capitol attack, releasing a clip of testimony from former White House Counsel Eric Herschmann discussing a call from Eastman the day after the riot. Herschmann recalled that Eastman asked him about keeping documents about Georgia that could potentially be used in an appeals process.
“And I said to him, ‘Are you crazy?'” Herschmann said. “I said, ‘I just want to hear two words out of your mouth from now on: ‘orderly transition.'”
Herschmann then urged Eastman to repeat those two words to him – Eastman eventually did.
“I said, ‘Fine, John. Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’ve ever had in your life: Get a great criminal lawyer. You’re going to need it,'” Herschmann said. “And then I hung up.”
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-06-16/john-eastman-pence-jan-6-hearings Who is John Eastman? California lawyer played role in Jan. 6 riot