John Eastman, the right-wing lawyer close to former President Donald Trump who authored a memo outlining how to overturn the 2020 election, is seeking to shield from the House Jan. 6 committee two “hand-written notes” from Trump about “information that he thought might be useful” for an anticipated court battle over the election results. Politico first reported the news Friday, citing a court filing.
That filing also reveals that Eastman regularly communicated with Trump in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. This occurred either “directly with President Trump by phone and by email through his assistant or attorney agents,” or through one of “six conduits to or agents of” the then-president.
Eastman invoking attorney-client privilege is nothing new. Since last November — when he was issued a subpoena — Eastman has regularly sought to slow-roll the process for turning over the more than 94,000 documents that the committee has requested. In December, for instance, he complained about the committee taking testimony in “secret proceedings” — a standard procedure. In a court filing two months later in which he attempted to shield 11,000 emails, the committee was concerned that the vague labels he attached to the emails he refused to hand over made it difficult for it to challenge his privilege claims.
This time, Eastman is trying to keep the committee from accessing 600 emails, in addition to the notes written by Trump. These emails include contacts with state legislators.
Besides writing a memo instructing then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from states Joe Biden won — “the illegality” of which “was obvious,” a judge wrote in March — Eastman also wrote to Republicans in Pennsylvania claiming that they could simply “discard” valid absentee ballots and then recalculate the vote total in Trump’s favor.
Eastman’s continual efforts to block the Jan. 6 committee’s requests have been aided in part by money that Trump supporters have donated through GiveSendGo, Rolling Stone reported earlier this month. Though described as his “legal defense fund,” Eastman is not a defendant — the Jan. 6 committee is.