WASHINGTON – When mobs attacked the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” a lawyer who, along with President Donald Trump and his allies, tried to cancel the 2020 election, sent a hostile message to the vice president’s chief attorney, accusing Pence of the violence.
The email, published by The Washington Post and confirmed by a person briefed on its content, shows how much Mr. Trump and his advisers tried to pressure the vice president, who presided over the election confirmation, to challenge the expression of will. voters and keep Trump in power.
“The siege is about YOU and your boss not doing what was necessary to allow it to be broadcast publicly so that the American people could see for themselves what happened,” attorney John Eastman wrote to Greg Jacob. , General Counsel to Mr. Pence.
Mr Pence and Mr Jacob were in a secure room in the Capitol when Mr Eastman sent the message, The Post reported. Outside, rioters stormed the congressional building to certify the election of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., erected the gallows, hunted Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and forced lawmakers to evacuate amid violence and lawlessness. In the area, police officers found pistols, knives, stun guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and zippers.
Mr. Eastman grew in Mr. Trump’s legal circle in 2020 from a little-known conservative academic to one of the most influential voices in the president’s ear, writing a memo outlining the steps he argued Pence could take to keep Trump at bay. power – measures of Democrats and Republicans against Trump compared to the coup plan…
A two-page memo written by Mr. Eastman and sent to the White House a few days before the evidence was disclosed in Danger by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. In the note, Mr. Eastman argued that, as Vice President, Mr. Pence was the “ultimate arbiter” of the election, essentially saying that he had the power to determine who won, and that “we must take all our actions with this to the mind. “
This opinion was dismissed by Mr. Pence and his lawyers as illegal and unethical.
Ever since his memo was made public, Mr. Eastman has tried to distance himself from its content, arguing that the document has been taken out of context. He told National Review that this strategy is “not viable” and it would be “crazy” to pursue it.
But an email to Mr. Jacob refutes these comments. Mr. Jacob wrote in a draft opinion article that Mr. Eastman demonstrated “shocking ignorance” as “a gang of thugs who were sold the lie that the vice president has the power to change the outcome of an election” stormed the city. Capitol.
“Vice President Pence rejected the false legal theories put forward to him and did his duty,” wrote Mr. Jacob. “We should find out if the president’s outside lawyers did theirs.”
Eastman declined to comment through his spokesman.
Liberal activist Lauren Windsor recently recorded Mr. Eastman calling Mr. Pence. “establishment guy” and adhering to the content of his memo. “These guys are spineless” he spoke of lawmakers who refused to join his plan to cancel elections based on false claims of widespread electoral fraud.
Trump’s proposal to disrupt the election
In the Oval Office, the day before the Congressional vote was confirmed, Mr. Trump pushed Mr. Pence into the conspiracy through a series of meetings, including one meeting that lasted at least an hour. Mr. Eastman was in the office and argued to Mr. Pence that he had the right to act.
Just before Mr. Pence headed to the Capitol on January 6, Mr. Trump called the Vice President’s residence to give him one last nudge.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Trump told him, according to two people informed during the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
Mr. Eastman spoke at a rally leading up to the storming of the Capitol and made baseless allegations of widespread electoral fraud. As outrage grew in the days following the riots, he abruptly quit his job as a professor and researcher of constitutional law at Chapman University.
The House committee investigating the attack has demanded that the White House hand over documents and communications concerning Mr. Eastman. Investigators also plan to ask him, possibly on a summons to court, to attend an interview as they investigate the circumstances of the largest attack on the Capitol since the 1812 War. About 140 officers were injured in the violence, which claimed the lives of several people.
Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt made reporting.