Apr 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 panel obtains emails ex-Trump lawyer tried to shield

 John Eastman in Boulder, Colorado on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

John Eastman in Boulder, Colo., on April 29, 2021. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is reviewing a trove of emails that John Eastman, the ex-lawyer of former President Trump, had tried to keep secret, federal court documents filed Tuesday show.

Why it matters: A total of 101 emails, sent between Jan. 4 and Jan. 7, were turned over to the committee after a judge ruled Eastman failed to adequately prove attorney-client privilege to prevent their release, according to the new filings.

  • The emails purportedly show Eastman and other Trump aides discussing various methods to bar Congress from certifying the 2020 election results, including weaponizing the courts.

What they're saying: “This may have been the first time members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action,” Judge David Carter wrote in court papers last month.

  • He added: “In another email thread, Dr. Eastman’s colleagues discuss whether to publish a piece supporting his plan, and they touch on state lawsuits only to criticize how they are being handled by the Trump campaign."
  • “In a different email thread, Dr. Eastman and a colleague consider how to use a state court ruling to justify Vice President Pence enacting the plan. In another email, a colleague focuses on the ‘plan of action’ after the January 6 attacks.”

The big picture: On Monday, Carter, who had ordered Eastman to turn over a cache of documents, accused Eastman and Trump of launching "a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history."

  • The committee is confident the records could reveal in greater depth how Trump and those in his inner circle "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States," earlier court filings stated.

The other side: Eastman, who has so far complied with subpoenas, hasn't been charged with any crimes.

  • Attorneys representing Eastman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Axios on Tuesday evening.
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