Attorney John Eastman has been asked to hand over nearly 200 emails to the Jan. 6 committee—many of which, a federal judge has ruled, indicate continued evidence of a “well-established” and “fully formed” plan by Eastman and former President Donald Trump to illegally overturn the 2020 election.
The original deadline to remit the documents was 5 p.m. Wednesday but a federal judge overseeing the matter has granted Eastman an extension and with the committee’s blessing.
“The Court previously held that from January 4-7, 2021, President Trump and Dr. Eastman likely committed obstruction of an official proceeding, in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 1512(c)(2), and conspiracy to defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 when they attempted to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote in the 26-page order made public Tuesday. “Because the remaining protected documents pre-date that time period, the court now determines whether those attempted crimes began earlier… The current set of documents also confirm that the plan was established well before January 6, 2021.”
In March, the judge found that Trump and Eastman likely engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election. He described it as a “coup in search of a legal theory.”
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There are exactly 159 documents that Judge Carter ruled were not protected under attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. The contents, which stem from a subpoena issued by the committee to Eastman’s former employer Chapman University, cover a range of subjects and feature correspondence related to Trump’s bogus “alternate elector” scheme as well as proposals to have then-Vice President Mike Pence stop the count by Congress on Jan. 6.
Eastman Order on Privilege June 2022 by Daily Kos on Scribd
Judge Carter zeroed in on agendas for three meetings held in the first two weeks of December.
One agenda was for a meeting on Dec. 8, where Eastman was invited to speak to state legislators about actions that could “reverse the media-called election for Joe Biden,” Carter wrote.
The other documents feature an agenda for a meeting on Dec. 9 where a “sitting Member of Congress discussed a [p]lan to challenge the electors in the House of Representatives,” the judge’s order states.
This was titled “GROUND GAME following Nov. 4 Election Results.” (Emphasis original)
A third agenda was for a meeting on Dec. 16—two days after state electors were required under law to meet and count their electors.
This record shared a similar title as the one from Dec. 9, another notable date since Dec. 9 was 24 hours past the safe-harbor deadline for electoral votes to be shored up. But in this agenda found in Eastman’s records, Carter noted that “an elector for President Trump analyzed “The Constitutional Implications of the Electoral College Meeting and What Comes Next.”
Though Eastman spoke to “sympathetic state legislators” in battleground states like Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania w the aim of having them go along with the alternate elector scheme, other communication reviewed by Judge Carter indicated Eastman very well understood that without this robust attempt to reverse Trump’s defeat, the gambit would be “dead on arrival.”
“Dr. Eastman’s actions in these few weeks indicate that his and President Trump’s pressure campaign to stop the electoral count did not end with Vice President Pence—it targeted every tier of federal and state elected officials. Convincing state legislatures to certify competing electors was essential to stop the count and ensure President Trump’s re-election."
Eastman argues that the committee’s interests in his documents are weak but, Carter wrote, when it comes to some of the records, his argument doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. The committee is not restricted from exploring all “facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack . . . [and] the interference with the peaceful transfer of power.”
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The longtime conservative attorney also can’t hide a smattering of records sent directly to him from Trump or through Trump’s executive assistant.
For example, though Eastman tried to claim that a photo of Trump with an accompanying handwritten note was privileged because it pertained to “anticipated litigation,” Carter said his review found otherwise.
“The note simply celebrates the size of President Trump’s campaign rallies,” the order states.
Other documents that came from Trump or his assistant featured press strategy discussions around certifying “alternate” electors. There was no attorney-client privilege here either because of crime-fraud exceptions to those privilege rules.
Of the emails he’s reviewed in this latest batch, Judge Carter noted that one from Dec. 22, 2020, stood out. it was sent by an “unidentified attorney” to Trump’s team of lawyers.
“This email considers whether to bring a case that would decide the interpretation of the Electoral Count Act and potentially risk a court finding that the Act binds Vice President Pence. Because the attorney concluded that a negative court ruling would “tank 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. The Trump legal team chose not to seek recourse in court—instead, they forged ahead with a political campaign to disrupt the electoral count. Lawyers are free not to bring cases; they are not free to evade judicial review to overturn a democratic election. Accordingly, this portion of the email is subject to the crime-fraud exception and must be disclosed.”
The Jan. 6 Committee hearings begin June 9 at 8 p.m. ET. The next hearings will be held at 10 a.m. on June 13th, 15th, 16th, and 21st. The final anticipated session will unfold on June 23rd at 8 p.m. ET. Daily Kos will offer up-to-the-minute coverage of each hearing on its front page as well as on Twitter. The hearings will be broadcast and carried live on most major networks except for Fox. The select committee is also expected to stream the hearings from its website, here.
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