Criminal Charges For Trump Allied Lawyer John Eastman Threatened By Schiff

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) threatened Trump-allied lawyer John Eastman with the apparent possibility of criminal charges for subpoena defiance during an appearance on CNN this week. In the context of the Capitol riot, Eastman rose to prominence because of materials that he prepared — with the eventual support of then-President Trump himself — outlining a procedural plan to block the formal certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. A key problem, however, was that then-Vice President Mike Pence did not actually possess the power to stop the certification of certain electoral votes, although him doing so was a part of Eastman’s schemes.

Asked about the claim from Eastman that the supposedly partisan nature of the House riot investigation committee (on which Schiff serves) nullifies his need to cooperate with a subpoena from it, Schiff commented on CNN as follows:

‘Well, that’s a frivolous argument. If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, then he’ll be in contempt of the committee, and it will be fairly simple and straightforward. So we’ll be seeing with each witness… whether they’re properly invoking a privilege, whether they are merely trying to stall and delay or cover up for the former president, and we will make our judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear their testimony.’

The riot investigation committee has already voted to hold two individuals, including top Trump ally Steve Bannon and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, in contempt of Congress for their defiance of subpoenas, and following a subsequent referral to the Justice Department after his contempt finding was approved by the full House, Bannon has already been charged with two counts of contempt of Congress. By all appearances, Schiff makes it abundantly clear here that Eastman could be next. Eastman has indicated that he intends to invoke Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, and Schiff laid out that the committee would examine this argument but not blindly accept it. Check out Schiff’s remarks below:

The riot investigation committee’s readiness to hold certain individuals in contempt of Congress and refer them for prosecution suggests that they’d be ready to do the same in the event that potential future negotiations with Trump himself went predictably sideways — although it’s not clear whether the panel might opt to try and obtain testimony from the  ex-president at any point.