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September 30, 2021 10:35 AM UTC

Everyone Should Know About the "Eastman Memo"

  • by: Colorado Pols
Former University of Colorado “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy” John Eastman speaking in Washington D.C. January 6th, 2021.

Margaret Sullivan has an important column out today in The Washington Post about something that every American should be intimately familiar with: The “Eastman Memo.”

In a normal world, the “Eastman memo” would be infamous by now, the way “Access Hollywood” became the popular shorthand in 2016 for the damning recording of Donald Trump’s bragging about groping women.

But it’s a good bet that most people have never even heard of the Eastman memo.

That says something troubling about how blasé the mainstream press has become about the attempted coup in the aftermath of the 2020 election — and how easily a coup could succeed next time.

The memo, unearthed in Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s new book, is a stunner. Written by Trump legal adviser John Eastman — a serious Establishment Type with Federalist Society cred and a law school deanship under his belt — it offered Mike Pence, then in his final days as vice president, a detailed plan to declare the 2020 election invalid and give the presidency to Trump.

In other words, how to run a coup in six easy steps. [Pols emphasis]

For you followers of Colorado politics, the name John Eastman should ring a few bells. Eastman is a former visiting professor at the University of Colorado whose tenure was rife with controversy. The University of Colorado cancelled his classes in January, citing low interest from students, and stripped Eastman of his public duties ahead of the end of his contract in May. Eastman is now preparing to sue CU for millions of dollars, alleging defamation and a violation of his First Amendment rights (because CU was not exactly proud of his efforts to formulate a coup at the highest levels of government).

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”40%”]“There are fantastic folks who come in [to the Benson Center]. Right now, it’s Dr. John Eastman, who’s riling some folks up.”

— Heidi Ganahl in December 2020[/mantra-pullquote]


Eastman’s ties to CU include being embraced by to Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, who was a big supporter in her role as a CU Regent. Ganahl was heaping praise on Eastman as recently as December 2020.

Eastman was inserting himself into the 2020 election long before last November. This is the same guy who wrote an infamous (and incorrect) opinion piece last summer suggesting that Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris might be ineligible to serve as VP because her parents are brown immigrants.

As Sullivan writes in The Washington Post, the “Eastman Memo” has not received the type of media coverage that something this nefarious and important should deserve. Media outlets in Colorado have also avoided the story for some reason, but that could change as the 2022 election cycle heats up. Remember that Ganahl STILL HAS NOT PROVIDED AN ANSWER to multiple questions about whether she believes that the 2020 election was fraudulent; her persistent refusal to answer that question, coupled with her indisputable support of Eastman, should concern every voter in Colorado.

We’ll let Sullivan have the final word on why the “Eastman Memo” needs to be a household phrase: “Eastman’s coup hasn’t happened yet. But given the media’s shrug-off, maybe all we have to do is wait.”


7 thoughts on “Everyone Should Know About the “Eastman Memo”

  1. I am not a lawyer.  I have never played one on tv. 

    It feels like promoting insurrection based on a "legal" opinion with no basis should result in disbarment and prosecution.  Where was he on January 6?

    Was he a conspirator?  (RICO!) 

    1. MattC …

      Eastman, on January 6, was speaking at the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally in Washington, D.C.

      I’ve not read anything on whether after his White House lawn speech he walked down to the Capitol Building to be one of the tourists there.  He is not among those arrested by the FBI or on the “wanted” list of those involved with the Capitol Violence.

      Nor have I read if he tried once more to convince Pence it would be okay that during the opening of envelopes from the states and declaring the ballots, “he gets to Arizona, he announces that he has multiple slates of electors, and so is going to defer decision on that until finishing the other States.” And then continues in the manner outlined in the memo to complete the coup and make Trump great again.

      Thus far, he’s been allowed to resign from his position as a professor and former dean with Chapman University School of Law.  He remains a prominent member of the Federalist Society; he continues to run two RWNJ organizations affiliated with the Claremont Institute; and is a member of the State Bar of California and the Supreme Court bar.

  2. It amazes me that someone who has spent his entire career practicing and teaching law has no problem with completely disregarding it at the whim of an unstable, delusional human being and throwing our country into constitutional chaos in pursuit of some ridiculous half baked scheme. That takes a very special set of non-ethics. I am not a lawyer either, but I agree with Matt C that if anyone deserves disbarment and/or prosecution it's this jackass.

  3. Here's part of what I wrote to the CU Regents on January 7th this year. Needless to say it took them a while to act.

    "I was concerned in recent years to learn of the new CU Boulder position of "Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy" because it seemed to be justified in a very contrived way (CU faculty have always had a mix of political viewpoints). But those previous concerns were dwarfed by what I learned today: Visiting Professor John Eastman has played an active role in inciting the terrorist mob to attack our nation's Capitol on Wednesday. Here is a video of him appearing with Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani at the rally Wednesday at which attendees were exhorted to go to the Capitol and force VP Pence to change the Electoral votes for President of the United States. Both Giuliani and Eastman were stirring the crowd to act by telling them blatant lies about the November vote: 

    Just as Trump must resign or be removed from office, just as many are demanding that U.S. Representatives Lamborn and Boebert resign because of their roles in promoting the attack on the Capitol, Professor Eastman should be immediately removed from his Visiting Professor position. His actions are a stain on the reputation of the University of Colorado."


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