TheU.S. House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack on United States Capitolis looking to boat an unusual fish. The committee expects John Eastman, a true bat of the conservative D.C. think-tank belfry to be subpoenaed for his role in overthrowing the results of the 2020 presidential elections. The committee would like to speak with Mr. Eastman about more specific matters. the memo he wrote for Trump’s legal team that was nothing more or less than a blunt blueprint for toppling the certification of a free and fair election.
A product of the Federal Society’s right-wing lawyer assembly line, Eastman is one of a thousand GOP lawyers slobbering around the nation’s capital providing grist for the nonsense mills at Fox News, OANHe has a host of talk radio shows. If the name rings a bell, it’s because he gained some notoriety in 2020 by writing an op-edFor NewsweekKamala Harris being a false U.S. citizen, therefore she cannot serve as vice president. Yes. ThatGuy.
Over the course of his career, Eastman clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, worked at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis (made famous by one of its former partners, Ken Starr), and did some nationally syndicated radio with Hugh Hewitt. He was defeated in the 1990 House race and the 2010 California attorney general race. Kamala Harris won the latter. He is chairman of The National Institute for Marriage, an organization that opposes same-sex marriage. He is also a director with The Public Interest Legal Foundation, which is designed to attack elections by filing frivolous suits.
It was likely his work with Public Interest that drew him into the spiraling orbit of Trump’s frantic post-election attempts to overthrow the results, and it was the memo he wrote for Trump’s doomed cause that has brought him to the attention of the select committee. Titled “January 6 scenario,” the document does not equivocate about its purpose and ultimate goal.
“There is very solid legal authority,” reads the opening paragraph, “and historical precedent, for the view that the President of the Senate does the counting, including the resolution of disputed electoral votes (as Adams and Jefferson did while Vice President, regarding their own election as President), and all the Members of Congress can do is watch.”
Eastman then dives in with both feet, citing the Electoral Count Act even as he declares it “likely unconstitutional.” He then lays out a step-by-step process by which then-Vice President Mike Pence refuses to certify the Electoral College votes in seven states, including Arizona. This would reduce the total Electoral College votes to 454. And thanks to the seven withheld states, this new accounting awards Trump a 232 to 222 count.
“Howls, of course, from the Democrats,” begins Eastman’s explanation of the second phase of the operation, “who now claim … that 270 is required. Pence said, “fine.” No candidate has won the necessary majority, as per the 12th Amendment. That sends the matter to the House, where the ‘the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote….’ Republicans currently control 26 of the state delegations, the bare majority needed to win that vote. President Trump is re-elected there as well.”
This was the mind bomb Pence received prior to the January 6 election certification. Trump and his legal galaxy brains claimed that the Eastman document was all Pence needed to reverse the results. Pence did not agree to the scheme, but he was unable withstand the repercussions.
On that day, on the other side of town, Eastman was one of the speakers who helped whip Trump’s followers into the violent frenzy that resulted in the sacking of the Capitol, and could possibly have resulted in Pence’s murder had the former vice president not been so fleet of foot.
It’s clear why the select panel wants Eastman to come in for a chat. Eastman, for his part, has been contorting himself into bold new shapes trying to dodge the idea that he wrote the roadmap for democracy’s Armageddon. In an unusually pugnacious manner National Review interview, Eastman tried to argue that a push to get Pence to overturn the results was “not viable,” dismissing anyone who thought otherwise.
Eastman’s Claremont Institute employs Eastman. It took this absurd argument and raised it to absurd heights by claiming that the memo did not ask Pence for the election to be overturned. “The defense is among the most carefully worded straw-man arguments in modern political history,” arguesAaron Blake The Washington Post. “Essentially, the [Claremont] statement isn’t disputing that Eastman provided a ready-made procedure for Trump and Pence to get the election overturned — he clearly and unambiguously did so — it’s that he didn’t explicitly say Pence should overturn it himself.”
These are the fun details that the select committee will be discussing would like to parseWith Mr. Eastman. They are ready to subpoena Mr. Eastman, but prefer that he testify freely. At least five Trump administration staffers are currently on the stand. have volunteeredTheir testimony was in this manner.
“That engagement, be it voluntary or compelled, already appears to be yielding damning information,” writes Eric Lutz for Vanity FairHe points out the explosive report by Rolling Stone as evidence. Only Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, has such evidence. refused to complyHe was served with a subpoena and now he has a whole new legal adventure. Keep watching.