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Santa Fe attorney John Eastman, who played a pivotal role in former President Donald Trump’s attempt to remain in power after losing the 2020 presidential election, took center stage during the Jan. 6 committee’s final hearing on Monday.
The committee is urging the Justice Department to prosecute Eastman, along with Trump.
The U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol said in a presentation that both Trump and Eastman may have obstructed an official proceeding. The committee also said there’s evidence they committed conspiracy to defraud the United States, in addition possibly to other crimes committed in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“We believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today … warrants a criminal referral of former President Donald J. Trump, John Eastman and others,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland.
Eastman is a Republican who has voted in every local and statewide New Mexico election since November 2018.
In June, FBI agents seized Eastman’s iPhone, according to a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque by attorneys for Eastman. And, in August, a New Mexico state judge ordered him to appear before a special grand jury in Georgia as part of a separate investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The referral essentially amounts to the committee asking the Department of Justice to investigate Trump and Eastman for potential crimes. It would fall on federal prosecutors to decide whether to bring charges against the men.
A 154-page executive summary to the committee’s full investigation was released Monday. The summary mentions Eastman 166 times.
“As January 6th approached, John Eastman and others devised a plan whereby Vice President (Mike) Pence would, as the presiding officer, declare that certain electoral votes from certain States could not be counted at the joint session,” the summary states. “John Eastman knew before proposing this plan that it was not legal.”
At one point, the summary references a “blunt” conversation between Eastman and Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer, about the idea that the vice president had the authority to influence the outcome of the election, which was referred to in the document as “Eastman’s plan.”
Herschman is quoted as asking Eastman “are you out of your F’ing mind” and telling Eastman, “You’re completely crazy,” according to the report summary.
The summary also links Eastman to a scheme to have seven states, including New Mexico, send “dual slates of electors to the President of the Senate” and have those electors cast their votes for Trump. The report refers to Eastman as “an attorney central to the Electoral College election theories to overturn the results of the election.”
The committee’s full report on its investigation is expected to be released later this week.
“We trust that the Department of Justice will be able to form a far more complete picture based on its investigation,” Raskin said.
The law firm representing Eastman called the committees work a “pretend criminal case.”