Jan 6 Committee: According to reports, ex-Trump lawyer John Eastman withheld around 3,200 papers from the Jan. 6 committee.
According to a new court filing this week, John Eastman, a far-right lawyer for then-President Donald Trump who hoped to prevent his electoral loss in 2020, is still withholding nearly 3,200 papers from the House Select Committee probing the January 6 insurgency.
Eastman was earlier ordered by the court to turn up 101 papers after he failed to convince the judge that some of his emails from January 4 to January 7, 2021, were privileged legal communications about Trump.
Since then, Eastman has proceeded to go through roughly 100,000 pages of emails from his Chapman University account that the House Committee is looking for from other election-related dates.
Eastman is currently contending that the thousands of records, totaling over 36,000 pages, should remain confidential.
Judge David Carter of the United States District Court in Santa Ana, California, may continue to consider whether Eastman can keep those pages hidden.
The judge’s prior decision to grant the House access to more than 101 documents marked a turning point in the probe and a setback for Eastman, who is still trying to keep some of his emails hidden.
The ongoing Eastman lawsuit also serves as a reminder that the committee is currently fighting for the fulfillment of its subpoenas in court on numerous fronts.
According to previous court hearings, the House select committee got 101 emails two weeks ago that document lengthy discussions among Eastman and others about using court cases as a political rationale to prevent Congress from certifying the vote.
The committee acquired one email, a draught document for Rudy Giuliani after the judge determined it was being used to prepare a crime. During the January 6 congressional conference, Vice President Mike Pence was advised to reject some state electors, according to the memo.
Carter stated, “This may have been the first time members of President Trump’s staff turned a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action.”
The court also noted, “Based on the evidence, the Court considers it more likely than not that President Trump attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”
The remaining emails in the batch were ordered to be released by the judge because they were not concerning litigation and thus could not be protected as attorney work.
Carter’s reasoning was an unexpected admission by a federal court that Trump‘s desire to overturn the election may be considered criminal. Although the House committee lacks the authority to charge Trump or his associates, it has considered formally requesting an investigation from the Justice Department.
In this case, the House took the strong stance that Trump was attempting to obstruct Congress and cheat the government by blocking his election loss and discussing it with Eastman, which Carter concurred with.
Attorney authorities in California are looking into Eastman’s legal ethics in relation to the election, although neither Trump nor Eastman has been charged with a crime.
“The Court concerns that January 6 will repeat itself if the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible,” the judge concluded.
Carter’s decision on the 101 documents was not appealed by Eastman.
Election Day 2020 through January 4, 2021, are still in dispute, as are January 7 through Joe Biden’s inauguration two weeks later.
Decision Time for Jan 6 Committee
The panel is nearing the end of its eight-month inquiry and is preparing to release a swath of material to the public in hearings that are expected to begin in the spring. The hearings, according to the committee’s nine members, will provide new insight into Donald Trump’s attempt to sway the 2020 election and fuel the mob that invaded the Capitol.
However, as the committee prepares its extensive findings, members are faced with a number of critical decisions, including how to conclude the investigation and which portions should be left alone.
Calling Donald Trump: It’s not a question of if, but when and how?
Trump’s testimony will almost certainly be sought by the committee; this has long been assumed. While the panel’s members have been careful about calling the former president, it’s obvious from court papers — and one landmark verdict by a federal judge — that their investigation has unearthed persuasive evidence that he broke the law in his efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
“We’ll be talking about the potential of a Trump interview in the not-too-distant future,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters on Thursday, a day after Trump told the Washington Post that he would consider testifying if the panel’s request was substantive.
Thompson later told CNN that a request for Trump would most likely be made on his own initiative, rather than as a result of a subpoena. Only one past president, Harry Truman, was ever served with a congressional subpoena, and he openly defied it. The Department of Justice has long used the Truman case as a precedent in legal arguments against subpoenaing presidents or their advisers.
The panelists believe Trump is the sole perpetrator of the violence on Jan. 6. However, Trump’s cooperation with the committee, which he has slammed for months, is unlikely. It’s unclear whether the panel would ask Trump to come freely or will adopt a more confrontational approach.
Pence’s last phone call with Trump was on January 6th.
One of the committee’s final decisions will be whether to call former Vice President Mike Pence to testify, which would include a discussion of Trump’s pressure campaign to persuade Pence to try to overturn the election on his own.
Thompson has stated that Pence’s testimony might not be required. A number of his top advisers have given lengthy testimony to the committee. Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, his top lawyer, provided the committee with a detailed explanation of Pence’s efforts to counter Trump’s efforts ahead of the presidential election on Jan. 6.
This includes an ongoing effort to collect thousands of emails sent by attorney John Eastman, who assisted Trump in developing a fringe legal strategy aimed at pressuring Vice President Pence to overturn the election. Similarly, the committee is in a high-stakes legal dispute with the Republican National Committee over materials linked to GOP post-2020 election propaganda that fueled election integrity misinformation.
Thompson opened the door to the panel’s materials being released at the conclusion of its probe, which may be vital to a Justice Department investigation into the Jan. 6 organizers.
He told reporters, “It’s public documents, paid for by the taxpayers.”