Jan. 6 committee to seek testimony from Trump lawyer who drafted strategy to overturn election

By | October 27, 2021

Congressional investigators are preparing to seek testimony from John Eastman, the attorney who crafted a legal strategy to help Donald Trump try to overturn the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, a House aide confirmed on Tuesday night.

The chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), told The Washington Post on Tuesday that he anticipated subpoenaing Eastman, though the aide emphasized that the Claremont Institute lawyer could avoid a subpoena if he cooperated voluntarily.

In the aftermath of Trump’s defeat in the election, Eastman helped the outgoing president chart a legal strategy that included petitioning the Supreme Court to intervene in the election and throw out the electoral votes of four states that propelled Joe Biden to his Electoral College victory. When that effort failed, Eastman drafted a strategy to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw out the election results himself.

Pence, under procedures outlined in the Constitution and federal law, was charged with presiding over the Jan. 6 counting of electoral votes, the final formal step to certify the presidential election — typically a ceremonial proceeding. But amid a relentless campaign to overturn his defeat, the former president homed in on Pence’s role and sought to pressure him to reject electors from the same states Trump tried to invalidate in the Supreme Court.

Eastman participated in a series of planning meetings at the White House, as well as phone calls with state officials Trump sought to enlist in his effort. He also spoke at a rally convened by Trump on the morning of Jan. 6 that later morphed into the violent mob that ransacked the Capitol, injured 140 police officers and sent lawmakers and Pence fleeing for safety.