As the Washington Post reported yesterday evening, a new court filing from the Select Committee investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and the plot by ex-President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election directly alleges that crimes were committed by Trump and attorney John Eastman, the alleged chief legal architect of the coup plot–which could negate Eastman’s claim of attorney-client privilege over his communications while working for Trump on the basis of Eastman knowingly assisting with the commission of a crime:
The alleged criminal acts were raised by the committee in a California federal court filing challenging conservative lawyer John Eastman’s refusal to turn over thousands of emails the panel has requested related to his role in trying to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from states won by Joe Biden. Eastman has cited attorney-client privilege as a shield against turning over the documents because he has said he was representing Trump at the time.
The committee argued in its filing that Eastman’s claim of privilege was potentially voided by the “crime/fraud exception” to the confidentiality usually accorded attorneys and their clients, which holds that communications need not be kept confidential if an attorney is found to be assisting their client in the commission of a crime. They asked the judge deciding whether to release Eastman’s emails to privately review evidence the committee has so far gathered to see if he believes it establishes that Eastman was assisting Trump in criminal acts.
“The Select Committee also has a good-faith basis for concluding that the President and members of his Campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,” according to the filing.
Newsweek’s Ewan Palmer reports on an email released by the Committee that appears to show Eastman, who was at this time on the University of Colorado’s payroll as the Benson Center’s “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy,” imploring Vice President Mike Pence to commit a “relatively minor violation” of federal law:
To back up its claim, the committee revealed an email from Eastman in which he appeared to admit that his and Trump’s plans to stop the election results being certified in favor of Joe Biden were illegal… [Pols emphasis]
In one email to Pence’s lawyer, Eastman wrote: “I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation” of the Electoral Count Act to adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations into non-existent voter fraud.
“[Eastman] knew what he was proposing would violate the law, but he nonetheless urged the Vice President to take those actions,” the filing states.
Eastman’s central role in the planning and dubious legal rationale for the plot that would have seen Vice President Pence throw out the votes of millions of Americans has been known since at least last summer, but this is the first evidence we’re aware of showing Eastman explicitly acknowledging the criminality of what he is proposing. That could be enough to blow the doors off of Eastman’s claim of attorney-client privilege.
“The evidence supports an inference that President Trump, [Eastman], and several others entered into an agreement to defraud the United States by interfering with the election certification process, disseminating false information about election fraud, and pressuring state officials to alter state election results and federal officials to assist in that effort,” the filing added.
During Eastman’s visiting term at the University of Colorado, CU Regent now gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl enthusiastically supported Eastman’s position with the school, and praised him for “riling folks up” after Eastman published a widely-condemned column questioning Kamala Harris’ citizenship. Despite Ganahl’s arguably closer connection to Eastman than anyone running for office in Colorado, she initially refused to answer any questions about the 2020 presidential election calling them “divisive.”
Ganahl would very much like for this “divisive question” to go away, but it’s not going to–in fact it’s only becoming more urgent as the investigation into January 6th keeps finding John Eastman under every proverbial rock. There’s no getting to November without reckoning with this, and trying to evade press inquiries about Eastman Cory Gardner style will only make it worse.
It’s a question of which voters Ganahl can afford to alienate.
And the first choice of “none” is no longer available.