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June 16, 2022 11:24 AM UTC

It's John Eastman Day (to Heidi Ganahl's Dismay)

  • 3 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
John Eastman speaking in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021.

The House committee investigating the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021 is holding its third public day of hearings today in what has become must-see television for many Americans. Today’s focus will be on threats made to Vice President Mike Pence, but we also suspect that former University of Colorado visiting professor (and Donald Trump lawyer) John Eastman will be a featured player. 

Trump has expressed his belief that Eastman’s coup plan would have worked if not for Pence’s refusal to cooperate. Meanwhile, we keep learning more about Eastman’s role as chief coup plotter…including some unsettling new revelations.

POLITICO runs down the latest bombshell news being reported by two major publications:

In the last 18 hours, the New York Times and Washington Post have uncovered new reporting on a dynamic that we — and the Jan. 6 select committee — have eyed for some time: Did attorney John Eastman have a back channel to the Supreme Court as he worked to subvert the 2020 results?

Eastman, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas in the 1990s, emailed in the weeks before Jan. 6, 2021, with Thomas’ wife Virginia — known as Ginni — per the Post. At that time, Eastman was pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to single-handedly block Joe Biden’s election.

The Times added another concerning detail: Eastman told an ally on Dec. 24, 2020, that there was a “heated fight” among the justices about whether to take up election-related lawsuits.

Yikes! As The New York Times elaborates, Eastman seems to have had a window into the backroom discussions of Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court – a window that definitely should not have been open for him:

A lawyer advising President Donald J. Trump claimed in an email after Election Day 2020 to have insight into a “heated fight” among the Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about the president’s efforts to overturn his defeat at the polls, two people briefed on the email said.

The lawyer, John Eastman, made the statement in a Dec. 24, 2020, exchange with a pro-Trump lawyer and Trump campaign officials over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin.

“So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,” Mr. Eastman wrote, according to the people briefed on the contents of the email. Referring to the process by which at least four justices are needed to take up a case, he added, “For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix.”

The news of Eastman’s apparently cozy relationship with Virginia Thomas, the wife of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas, is particularly creepy given that it has already been widely reported that Virginia Thomas actively tried to assist in the coup efforts. 

 

John Eastman and Heidi Ganahl

[mantra-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”50%”]“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 Colorado connections also include Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, who was a big supporter of hiring Eastman at CU. Ganahl has said very little about Eastman since she started running for governor, and she has gone out of her way on multiple occasions to dodge questions about whether she thinks the 2020 Presidential election was legitimate. 

In previous discussions with the Jan. 6 committee, Eastman has often asserted his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself (though many of his emails speak for him). Ganahl is not facing any legal questions of her own in this regard, but she has also largely chosen to avoid talking about Eastman and her role as a CU Regent in supporting his appointment to the Benson Center’s “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy” program. 

Here’s Ganahl on “The Kim Monson Show” – just last month – responding to a question about Eastman’s tenure at CU:

 

GANAHL: Well, I need to clear something up, because the Democrats keep claiming that I hired him – I personally hired him. And we just don’t hire conservative scholars. We find out after the process is done. And I’ve never spoken to or met Mr. Eastman, but I am a warrior for academic freedom and free speech. 

So I did not believe firing him was appropriate. And I advocated for not doing that and we didn’t. But at the end of the day, you know, it was problematic that he was brought into this conversation and kind of had to deal with this. But I do believe in academic freedom and I did not believe, you know, firing him was appropriate and we didn’t. So that’s what happened. [Pols emphasis]

Ganahl is pretty unequivocal here in saying that Eastman should not have been removed as a conservative scholar at CU…even though he was one of the primary plotters behind former President Trump’s attempted coup. She just says that it was “problematic” that Eastman “had to deal with this.” Problematic?

Other, less mealy-mouthed voices have not shied away from the truth. There has been much regret at the University of Colorado, in fact; CU professor Robert Pasnau, a former director of the “conservative scholar” program that hired Eastman, said this to Colorado Public Radio in April:

“I don’t mind saying that it was a disaster for the Center, for the University.”

While the professionals at CU regret this entire situation, Ganahl thinks it’s all just an issue of “academic freedom” or something. Ironically enough, this is pretty much what Eastman says; he is suing the University of Colorado for canceling his classes and removing him from public functions, nevermind that he voluntarily resigned as a law professor at Chapman University in California because of his whole “insurrection problem.”

The Eastman situation is one of many reasons that Ganahl refused to speak to media outlets since her campaign kickoff in September 2021. In recent days, Ganahl has started to do a few interviews, perhaps realizing that her poorly-funded campaign could use all the free press she can get with the June 28th Primary Election fast approaching.

Heidi Ganahl

Her answers on the insurrection, the “Big Lie,” and Eastman haven’t improved, however. As Alex Burness wrote for The Denver Post last weekend:

“Joe Biden is our president,” she told The Denver Post during a recent interview, though she declined to say whether she feels he is a legitimate president.

But when pressed a bit more on the topic — in this case, by being asked whom she supports in a GOP primary for Colorado secretary of state that pits two election deniers against someone who does not believe the election was stolen — Ganahl quickly snaps.

“This is how we go wrong in these interviews,” said the University of Colorado regent, seeking to redirect the conversation to talk about Democratic legislation she opposes. “This is why the people of Colorado, or a lot of them, don’t trust the media.”

Instead of always blaming the media and/or ducking the topic, Ganahl could instead, you know, JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION. It’s not like she has any reason to be surprised by this line of questioning. 

But Ganahl decided long ago that her political strategy (at least in the Republican Primary) would be to avoid questions about the “Big Lie,” John Eastman, and the “Benson Center.” If she somehow can’t avoid these questions, she obfuscates until there is no possible way to infer an answer from her gibberish.

Ganahl’s gubernatorial campaign is trying to appeal to right-wing Republican voters, who might appreciate her obfuscations on these important subjects. Should she make it through the June 28th Primary Election, however, she’s going to need a different story for the rest of Colorado’s voters (assuming she’s still talking to the media at that point). 

Comments

3 thoughts on “It’s John Eastman Day (to Heidi Ganahl’s Dismay)

  1. I'm old enough to remember the quaint, childlike days when TFG's question was "If you’re innocent why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

    After festering and mutating, today's low bar seems to be Eastman's “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works."

    It's very tough to be snarky at deadly serious times like this.

  2.  “Al Gore did not have the basis to do it in 2000. Kamala Harris shouldn’t be able to do it in 2024. But I think you should do it today.”

    That’s how Greg Jacob, Pence’s legal counsel, summarized Eastman’s response when asked whether Pence could just decide the 2020 election by himself. Stunning, blatant corruption and contempt.

    What was the deciding factor here for which Veeps get to decide elections?  Hmmmm. 

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