John Eastman, the former Trump lawyer who authored the “coup memo” instructing Mike Pence to block the certification of the Electoral College on Jan. 6, knew the Supreme Court was engaged in a “heated fight” about whether to entertain the president’s efforts to challenge the election results, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
“So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,” Eastman wrote to pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro on Dec. 24 about filing paperwork aimed at challenging the results in Wisconsin, according to two people with knowledge of the contents of the email.
How could Eastman have possibly “understood” that the Supreme Court was having a “heated fight” over taking up challenges to the election? Well, hours before the Times reported he did, The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas — who has been haranguing everyone from Mark Meadows to members of Congress to state legislators to get the election overturned — was corresponding with Eastman. Thomas, of course, is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
It’s unclear whether Eastman learned about the Supreme Court tension over election cases from Thomas or even when Eastman and Thomas corresponded. Eastman’s email about the “heated fight” on the court is part of a group of emails obtained by the Jan. 6 committee, as is the correspondence between Eastman and Thomas. Eastman fought tooth and nail to prevent the committee from obtaining his emails. The committee has been interested in Thomas, as well, and the Post notes that the committee is now debating whether to make time during its hearings to address Thomas’ role in the effort to overturn the election.
Eastman noting the Supreme Court’s “heated fight” wasn’t the only interesting part of his Dec. 24 exchange with Chesebro. The lawyer to Eastman’s message about getting the Supreme Court to take up the case by writing that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”
The Times points out that the exchange took place just five days after Trump first called for his supporters to descend on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. “Be there. Will be wild!” Trump wrote on Twitter.