Controversial conservative lawyer John Eastman has been filmed at an event criticising state election officials who upheld the integrity of the 2020 national elections and calling Republican legislators “spineless.”
Mr Eastman made the remarks in an undercover video filmed by Lauren Windsor, a journalist and creator of The Undercurrent, a web show that focuses on political reporting.
Windsor had approached Mr Eastman as a Trump supporter at an event for the Claremont Institute, a right-wing thinktank where he works.
In the video, Mr Eastman is heard calling the Republican legislators “spineless” for not helping with a plan to overturn the 2020 US presidential election results that declared Democrat Joe Biden as the country’s new president.
“If we could have gotten the decertification, we would have Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona back in January…” Mr Eastman is heard saying in the video.
Explaining their motives of overturning the election results, he said: “I met... Trump, Giuliani and me met with 300 legislators on 2 January via Zoom conference call and they all spinelessly wouldn’t do anything, right even though we’ve given them all the evidence they wouldn’t do it...”
“So look, I very much wish it were otherwise but these guys are spineless and now... now... if we take a bunch of them out in the primaries in 2022 and the precondition for getting elected is we’re going to fight this stuff then maybe we got an opportunity,” he added.
“I was floored that Mike Pence didn’t do anything. I mean, why didn’t he act on it? Because you gave him the legal reasoning to do that,” Windsor can be heard saying in the video.
“Well, Mike Pence is an establishment guy at the end of the day,” Mr Eastman replied.
The conservative lawyer also told Windsor about Trump’s intention to accompany the mob to the Capitol on the day of riots outside the US Capitol building.
Mr Eastman said Mr Trump abstained only because the situation had escalated and damage by violent acts was already done.
“Yeah, I don’t. I don’t know because the breaking of the windows stuff had already started before his speech was over. And if he got down there, then all of that would have been blamed on him. I mean they’re still blaming him, but they would have had more basis for it,” Mr Eastman was heard saying on the undercover video recorded by Windsor.
“But he’d been planning on coming down though..” said Windsor.
“Yeah I know, I know. So yeah, the whole thing was a setup,” Mr Eastman replied in the video.
“The Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys had not not just kind of wallflowers sitting on the side of the organisation but people instigating within the association. FBI plants. These were.. It was a setup. And you know unfortunately, our guys walked into the trap,” he added.
“But so he would have gone down there if it hadn’t been for the violence?” asked Windsor.
“Yeah. Like he decided not to go because people were engaging in violence and breaking stuff,” he said.
On being told by Windsor that a memo he had authored was “solid in all its legal arguments”, the lawyer is heard saying: “I know, I know”.
The memo, which became public in September, showed efforts by Mr Trump’s legal team in overturning the 2020 elections. The memo asked Mr Pence to dismantle the results in the US Senate “without asking for permission”.
Mr Eastman’s memo, which never came to fruition, asked Mr Pence to interrupt the normal procedure of reading out the Electoral College vote by abruptly announcing that Arizona had sent “multiple slates of electors”.
As a result, he would then “defer decision on that until finishing the other states”. The other “disputed” states that Mr Biden had won, would similarly be pushed aside.
Mr Eastman’s memo then sought Mr Pence to announce that “because of the ongoing disputes in the seven states, there are no electors that can be deemed validly appointed in those states”, reducing the number of “electors appointed” to 454.
After this, Mr Pence would have declared Mr Trump to be reelected with 232 votes.
This plan was reportedly not seriously considered even by close Trump allies in the Senate.
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