The contents of a public figure’s private communication are almost always revelatory, and in the case of Donald Trump, a group of lawyers and peripheral figures in the former president’s orbit are currently engaged in a Herculean struggle to prevent an enormous trove of documents from ever coming to light.
The combined evidence is potentially staggering. Politico reported Monday night that Trump attorney John Eastman is stubbornly insisting his attorney-client privilege prevented him from turning over 37,000 pages of emails related to his work for the former president to the Jan. 6 committee. Simultaneously, Phil Waldron, a former Army colonel who has been instrumental in propagating the Trump campaign’s claims of fraud and is responsible for a widely circulated PowerPoint about how to overturn the election, is suing the committee to block it from obtaining his phone records.
Eastman and Waldron’s records may or may not contain incriminating ties between Trump and the events of Jan. 6, but going to such lengths to prevent the committee from getting ahold of them certainly arouses suspicion. This evidence will most likely come to light eventually. U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, who is overseeing the Eastman case, has already said that Trump and Eastman “likely” conspired to obstruct Congress from finding records about Eastman’s also-illegal plan to throw out electors from several states in the 2020 election. But what the Trump network can do here is stall, which is exactly what you’re seeing.
Eastman’s claim of lawyer-client privilege has allowed him to draw out a lengthy process of reviewing thousands of thousands of pages of communications to discern the ones he wants to go to court to keep sealed. So far, that’s around 3,264 documents, totaling 37,650 pages, according to Eastman’s lawyer. Carter has already had to order Eastman to speed up his review once, back in January.
Waldron’s strategy to protect phone records is the same. Tying all of this up under a mound of legal proceedings draws out the committee’s actual findings and means that whatever eventually does come out could get lost in the storm of constant bullshit emanating from Trump’s orbit. They’re even using some of the same arguments: Politico reports that Waldron’s lawsuit to protect his phone records uses what is now a canned and recycled line that the Jan. 6 committee has no valid purpose and is politically biased because it doesn’t have any Republicans appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (McCarthy withdrew his appointees last year in protest).
Meanwhile, Trump appears to be already campaigning for 2024. If his army of cronies can waffle and stall for the next year or two —which seems entirely possible given the incredibly slow wheels of congressional justice — he might just get re-elected before any of this can fully come to light.