The lawyer behind the memo on how Trump could stay in power


He declined to say whether he had advised state legislatures – which have become hubs for Republican efforts to advance allegations of voter fraud – on voting matters. And he insisted his two-page note, which he said he hastily wrote over Christmas vacation with his family in Texas, was taken out of context, but defended his point according to which Mr. Pence could have done much more to help Mr. Trump.

“I will not be intimidated by public opposition to this,” Mr. Eastman said.

He added: “There are a lot of allegations that have not had their place in the courts and a lot of people who believe them and wish to have their day in court. and I work very diligently with several teams – statistical teams, teams of electoral specialists, all kinds of teams – to try to identify the different claims and determine if they are valid or if there is a reasonable explanation for them. .

Like many lawyers who worked in Mr. Trump’s administration, Mr. Eastman had strong conservative legal credentials, which initially gave him a patina of respect in Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

Mr. Eastman attended Law School at the University of Chicago and served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice J. Michael Luttig, a former Federal Court of Appeal judge as President George W. Bush considered for the Supreme Court. He is a fellow of the conservative Federalist Society and former Dean of Chapman University Law School in Orange County, California. For two decades he ran his own small law firm which focused on representing conservatives on issues such as free speech, religious freedom. , abortion and immigration.

After election day, Mr. Eastman sort of served as a behind-the-scenes legal quarterback for Mr. Trump, alarming some of Mr. Trump’s aides who feared they had found someone to activate his worst instincts to one of the most dangerous times. of his presidency. And it surprised many longtime friends of Mr. Eastman and others, who questioned whether his rise to power had skewed his view of reality.

“You are always in danger when every safety mechanism fails,” Bolton said.

Mr. Eastman’s role in Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in power began the weekend after the election in Philadelphia, where Mr. Eastman had traveled for an academic conference. At a nearby hotel, Mr. Trump’s closest associates, including Corey Lewandowski, were preparing a legal case to challenge the results in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Eastman had put himself on the radar of Mr. Trump’s political aides during the election when Jenna Ellis, legal counsel for Mr. Trump’s campaign, shared on Twitter an article Mr. Eastman had written. The article, echoing the racist questions stoked by Mr. Trump about President Barack Obama’s birthplace, questioned whether Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden’s running mate, could legally become president because her parents were not born in the USA.


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