John Eastman, who pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 presidential election, intends to invoke his Fifth amendment right against self-incrimination, while at the same time claiming that he did nothing illegal. Politico reported the news on Friday.
Eastman is one of several anti-democracy activists who were issued subpoenas in November by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He would be the second to plead the Fifth, along with former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark.
“Members of this very Committee have openly spoken of making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and described the Committee’s work in terms of determining ‘guilt or innocence,'” Eastman’s lawyer wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). “Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him.”
Eastman also took issue with “the lack of a ranking minority member” on the committee, with his lawyer writing that “House Rules and longstanding precedent require bipartisanship in the appointment of committees, both standing and select.”
There are only two Republicans — Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — Jan. 6 committee, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) back in July withdrew all five of his picks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected two of his recommendations, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — probably because each had voted to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Eastman also decried the committee taking testimony in “secret proceedings,” which are really just standard closed-door depositions that occur on Capitol Hill regularly.
Eastman’s complaints thus ring hollow, especially in light of the disgraceful — and unprecedented — acts he planned out for Jan. 6. If his memos were adhered to, then Pence would have unilaterally tossed out “invalid” electoral votes from seven states, and recognized alternate, pro-Trump electors, in effect re-electing the president.