Immediate Investigation Of Trump Lawyer Eastman For Plotting A Coup Requested

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In a new article, former Obama administration ethics official Norm Eisen and former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut pushed for an urgent investigation of John Eastman, the now infamous right-wing lawyer who prepared a set of memos that were apparently meant to promote the false idea that then-Vice President Mike Pence could stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. Eastman — who worked directly with Trump — has attempted to backtrack from what’s laid out in his memos, but the documentation is there, and Eisen and Aftergut noted how his frantic efforts to avoid scrutiny only further call for an investigation — with Eastman’s disbarment as a potential outcome.

Eastman is already facing a formal complaint with the California Bar calling for such an investigation, which Eisen and Aftergut explain “was signed by five former judges of the California Supreme Court and federal trial courts and by leading scholars.” The complaint points to false statements on Eastman’s part beyond the memos, including at the Women for America First rally in D.C. on January 6, where Eastman spoke, promoting the false claim that the presidential election had been fraudulently rigged for Biden. Trump spoke at the same rally, and it was the main event that devolved into the Capitol riot, shortly before the then-president concluded his remarks.

Eastman said in response to criticism that when he described the vice president as the “ultimate arbiter” in the electoral vote certification process, he “meant only that Pence was the ultimate arbiter of which ballots to open in a contested election.” The presidential election was not legitimately “contested” at the time that Eastman put together his memos, however. By that time, court after court had thrown out pro-Trump claims of election fraud, and there was no legal mechanism providing any legitimacy to the so-called alternate slates of electoral college members that had been prepared by self-confident Republicans in particular states. The actual relevant authorities in each of these states had certified Biden’s wins.

As Eisen and Aftergut commented:

‘Eastman’s recent and shifting accounts of his conduct in a matter in which his honesty is a central issue confirm the need for factual investigation. But even if such an investigation were to sustain Eastman’s revisionist claims, discipline would still be warranted, both because of the lack of legal support for them and because the election was no longer “contested” in any meaningful sense. By Jan, 6, numerous courts had rejected Trump’s claims of fraud and illegality. Delay [of the presidential election certification] may sound harmless, but given the tight timing and sensitivity of the transition of power, it likely would have spelled chaos.’

The two also note that “[even] in Eastman’s revised account, he was urging a strategy that he knew lacked a factual and legal foundation (Pence himself determined as much) and would have plunged our Republic into uncharted and dangerously turbulent waters.” Interestingly, Eisen and Aftergut also observe how Eastman recently told a conservative interviewer that “as I understand it in Georgia, a lot of the [voting] machines don’t have paper ballots” — but in Georgia, each voter is, in fact, tied to a paper ballot, which helps with double-checking the count. These people are not competent. How did Eastman miss this?

“Conduct by a lawyer that appears to have involved repeated dishonesty and bad faith, contributed to the terrible events of Jan. 6, and threatened even graver harms to our constitutional democracy must be investigated by the California bar,” Eisen and Aftergut say. Read more at this link.