State Watch

Group asks California bar to investigate Trump adviser’s role in Jan. 6

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A bipartisan group of legal minds and former officials filed a complaint against an adviser to former President Trump on Monday, requesting that the California bar launch an investigation into his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The complaint, led by the States United Democracy Center, calls on the California bar to investigate John Eastman, who was part of the legal team that represented Trump in cases contesting the 2020 presidential election vote, to determine if he “violated his ethical obligations as an attorney.”

“The available evidence supports a strong case that the State Bar should investigate whether, in the course of representing Mr. Trump, Mr. Eastman violated his ethical obligations as an attorney by filing frivolous claims, making false statements, and engaging in deceptive conduct,” the complaint reads.

“There is also a strong basis to investigate whether Mr. Eastman assisted in unlawful actions by his client, Mr. Trump,” it added.

The complaint was also signed by two former California Supreme Court justices. Eastman is a conservative who previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The complaint references Eastman’s speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally before the Jan. 6 riots and two memos that Eastman spearheaded. 

Those memos laid out a case for why then-Vice President Mike Pence held the power to stop the counting of electoral votes from numerous states, or to delay the vote overall.

Pence actually had no power to stop the Electoral College count by Congress, as his role in the process is largely ceremonial. He did read out objections from GOP lawmakers to the count, which led to votes in the House and Senate on the counts in certain states.

Eastman reportedly proposed a plan to Pence in the Oval Office on Jan. 4 which called for tossing the election results in seven states by claiming that they used alternate electors, according to the new book “Peril.” 

He also reportedly said that Pence could declare Trump the victor of the election once the votes were disposed of.

Eastman, however, told the Post in an interview on Monday that the first memo was preliminary, and in the second he was clearly writing out choices for Trump and Pence, which was meant to “outline all of the scenarios that had been discussed.”

The complaint, however, writes that “Evidence indicates that Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman initially sought to use the memoranda to force Mr. Pence to set aside ballots.”

“Mr. Eastman’s memoranda sought to justify a brazen power play by Mr. Trump that aimed to set aside the results of an election that had been repeatedly and authoritatively determined to be free and lawful, and to potentially install the loser of that election as a winner, based on nothing more than a false narrative that Mr. Trump had originally authored,” the complaint adds at a different spot.

Eastman, during an interview with The Washington Post, rejected the complaint, contending that he laid out options for the White House and was using the right to petition “the government for redress of grievances.”

“One of the grievances was that nothing was being done about acknowledged illegality in the conduct of an election — asserting a constitutional right is not a disbarrable offense,” Eastman said.

Eastman argued that he will be “fully vindicated” when the entire memo and his description of the gatherings with Trump and Pence are examined.

The Hill reached out to Eastman for comment.

Tags Clarence Thomas Donald Trump John Eastman Mike Pence overturning election results Trump lawyer
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