Trump in recent weeks has told confidants that he sees no reason to defend the lawyer who tried to help him overturn the 2020 election, sources tell yahoo.
With the Justice Department and a Senate committee looking into Donald Trump‘s efforts to influence the 2020 election, he and his allies could use blame, and it appears that they’ve found one in right-wing lawyer John Eastman.
As Trump’s attorney, Eastman created legal techniques to reverse the election and keep the outgoing president in power. But, according to two individuals familiar with the situation, Trump has told those close to him in recent weeks that he sees no reason to publicly support Eastman.
The ex-president is also enraged by Eastman and all of the unwanted “attention” and media attention that the lawyer’s efforts have given Trump and his inner circle, notably during the ongoing Jan. 6 hearings on Capitol Hill, according to The Rolling Stone
Furthermore, to those who have spoken with Trump about Eastman in recent months, the ex-president has repeated an excuse he frequently uses when confronted with an associate’s misdoings: Despite the fact that he advised Trump on a series of extra-legal steps in an attempt to stay in power and prepared the so-called “coup memo,” which lay out a facsimile of a legal argument for reversing Trump’s election defeat, he has privately claimed he “hardly” or “barely” knows Eastman.
Trump will occasionally ask about Eastman’s fortunes behind closed doors, including boldly asking, “Is [John] going to jail?” according to a source who claims to have heard the former president say it. Trump, on the other hand, has remained silent in public. According to three persons familiar with the situation, Trump has been strongly encouraged by lawyers and other associates not to openly discuss Eastman or his work — and to personally avoid the man altogether. At this time, Trump, his legal advisers, and various political advisers would prefer to cut ties with Eastman and keep their distance, in an attempt to build a wall between the lawyer who enthusiastically pitched strategies for delegitimizing the 2020 election outcome and the ex-president who repeatedly sought his help.
“It has been repeatedly communicated to the [former] president that he should not even bring up Johnny Eastman’s name because he is maybe the most radioactive person [involved in this] when it comes to…any so-called criminal exposure,” a source with direct knowledge of the matter says. “Johnny does not have many friends in [the upper crust of] Trumpworld left, and most people loyal to the [former] president are fine with him being left out on his own, to deal with whatever consequences he may or may not face.”
Indeed, Trump, who is known for his outspokenness, has been quiet on Eastman, a lawyer whose work was crucial to the scandalous efforts to overturn President Biden’s 2020 victory. (Trump even considered Eastman as counsel for his post-insurrection impeachment.)
There is now a clear attitude toward Eastman in MAGAland’s highest reaches. (“Johnny,” as some Trump advisers derisively call him): He could be on his way down. As long as he doesn’t bring anyone else down with him, it’s fine.
Eastman and a Trump official did not respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.
For his role in pushing many of the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the election, Eastman has become a growing focus for the January 6th committee. Excerpts from a deposition by Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann, in which he described a heated confrontation with Eastman the day after the insurrection, during which he advised Eastman to “get a great fucking criminal defense lawyer” because “you’re going to need it,” were posted by the committee last week.
Shortly afterward, Eastman emailed fellow Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to say: “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.”
“Any time you give legal advice and then feel compelled to ask for a pardon, it probably wasn’t good legal advice,” says Steven Groves, formerly a lawyer and then a spokesman in Trump’s White House.
Trump released a 12-page statement, which
reported contains the seeds of a potential defense against criminal allegations that he attempted to thwart the transfer of power while knowing he had legitimately lost the election, in response to growing calls from the January 6 committee for a criminal investigation into Trump’s actions surrounding the election.
The document mentions a number of absurd theories, including 14 references to the phony election fraud conspiracy film 2,000 Mules, but it makes no mention of Eastman or his work, which the former president used to argue that his attempts to overthrow the election were legal.
Eastman, a conservative constitutional law professor and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was first brought into Trump’s orbit during the penultimate year of Trump’s presidency. As the odds of overturning Biden’s 2020 election victory got longer, Trump, enamored with Eastman’s mistrust of the constitution’s birthright citizenship provision, came to rely on the attorney’s extreme views of election law.
Eastman submitted briefs asking the Supreme Court to interfere in the election on Trump’s behalf, both of which were ultimately dismissed by the justices.
When the Supreme Judge denied Trump’s attempts to use the courts to thwart the democratic transfer of power, Eastman took on the task of trying to piece together a legal basis for why Vice President Mike Pence, in blatant violation of the constitution, had the authority to halt the counting of electoral votes on January 6.
However, the notion that Eastman is becoming blamed for Trump and other Republicans’ efforts in 2020 and early 2021 has been so prevalent in conservative circles that it’s even being admitted by some of the former president’s favorite right-wing media personalities.
“How many lawyers did Trump have? He had several…And John Eastman has turned into the fall guy,” Mark Levin, a Fox News and radio host, said on-air last week. “He’s a lawyer, he’s an advocate for the [former] president.
Whether you agree with his legal judgment, his legal findings, or not, it’s what lawyers do.” (According to a New York Times report last year, Levin is indirectly responsible for landing Eastman in then-President Trump’s inner orbit — simply due to the fact that Trump had seen the attorney on a 2019 episode of Levin’s program.)
On Trump’s Truth Social social media site, the former president has remained mute about Eastman, even as he has supported other aides and supporters who have been accused of planning a coup against Joe Biden. In fact, Trump has “Truthed” about Elon Musk’s Twitter feud, the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, and the PGA Tour — but not about Eastman.
“Our great trade genius, Professor Peter Navarro, was just handcuffed, shackled, and put in jail,” Trump tweeted after the FBI arrested his former trade adviser Peter Navarro for ignoring a subpoena from the committee. When T
The Washington Post revealed Ginni Thomas’ emails asking legislators in Arizona to reject the voters’ decision and declare Trump the state’s victor, she received similar encouragement from Trump. Thomas is a “Great American Patriot, the great wife of Justice Clarence Thomas,” Trump commented following the Post piece, who “fought for Voter Integrity in the Great State of Arizona.”
Trump has been similarly silent on his personal website, where he hosted written statements following his removal from Twitter and before the creation of Truth Social. Only two times did Eastman’s name appear on the site, in hosted copies of Supreme Court election briefs he authored in 2020.
Despite several reports of the January 6th committee’s interest in Eastman, Trump has remained unmoved on the matter of his former lawyer’s fate.
Trump has not mentioned Eastman, whom he once praised on Twitter as a “Brilliant Constitutional Lawyer,” on Truth Social, where the former game-show host has provided a running commentary on the committee’s hearings.