John Eastman—he of insurrection memo fame—is petitioning to shield thousands of documents from the House Jan. 6 committee, Politico reports. Eastman filed a new petition this week in which he seeks to shield more than 3,200 documents comprising nearly 37,000 pages, claiming attorney-client privilege.
U.S. District Judge David Carter has proven unsympathetic to Eastman thus far in Eastman’s attempts to drag out the release of documents. Carter has ordered Eastman to produce at least 1,500 pages of records per day from a 19,000-page tranche obtained by a committee subpoena sent to Eastman’s ex-employer, Chapman University, and has further ordered him to prioritize emails for the days immediately before and after the Jan. 6 insurrection: Jan. 4-7.
This filing, however, is for the whole period of Eastman’s use of his Chapman account emails. There were nearly 100,000 pages originally included in the House committee’s subpoena of the records, but about 30,000 have already been removed as they were mass mailings unrelated to Eastman’s work with Trump to subvert the election.
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Now Eastman is attempting to shield these emails and the Jan. 6 committee has refused “every claim,” so Eastman is asking Carter for a case-by-case review on the 37,000 or so pages left. Carter has already ruled that Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress in a criminal conspiracy in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. “Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Carter wrote in a March decision.
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He described the work of the committee as urgent in ordering Eastman to cough up the records, but now will have to look through this tranche of documents. The committee has questioned whether Eastman was actually acting as Trump’s lawyer that early, making his claim for attorney-client privilege at that point moot. Carter’s determination that Eastman was eventually Trump’s attorney puts all this in the chunk of stuff that needs to be reviewed page by page.
Ultimately, though, Eastman now has 3,200 documents that he refuses to turn over, which is not suspicious at all.
“Defendants made no objection to Dr. Eastman’s claims of privilege over 643 documents totaling 3,006 pages, but did object to every claim of attorney-client privilege and work-product protection that Dr. Eastman asserted with respect to his representation of former President Trump and/or his campaign committee,” Eastman’s attorney, Charles Burnham, wrote in this request to Carter. “Those 3,264 documents, totaling 37,650 pages, have therefore been submitted for in camera inspection.”
This is a delaying tactic as much as anything else. Meanwhile, Eastman is still at it. He took his “alternate electors” show on the road last month to Wisconsin, pressuring the legislature to decertify the election results.
This is a legal argument Eastman has been working on since 2000 when he helped the Florida Republican Party formulate a plan to steal that election for George W. Bush. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to do that dirty work, so he didn’t get to put the plan in action. By the way, the current Supreme Court has three justices—Chief Justice John Robert Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—who were in on that Bush conspiracy in Florida.
Back to the present: The good news is Carter has already shown he’s not particularly willing to countenance Eastman’s claims. The bad part is that the process demands he consider them, and that’s going to eat up more time.