Ex-Trump Attorney John Eastman suggested Pennsylvania lawmakers 'simply' delete vote totals to overturn the 2020 election
- John Eastman told Pennsylvania lawmakers they could "simply" re-count the 2020 election.
- New emails reveal Eastman's unfeasible ideas for how state legislatures could overturn Trump's loss.
John Eastman, who worked as President Donald Trump's attorney following the 2020 election, suggested that Pennsylvania lawmakers should 'simply' delete candidates, according to a newly-unearthed trove of emails from a new public records request.
Eastman communicated with Pennsylvania state lawmakers about ways to overturn the 2020 election from an email address affiliated with the University of Colorado, which is a public institution and thus subject to public records laws. Eastman, a conservative law professor, was a visiting scholar at the Colorado institution at the time.
In one December 4 email to Republican state Rep. Russ Diamond, Eastman pushed unsubstantiated allegations of widespread impropriety in Pennsylvania's election — and employed some dubious math that he thought could engineer a Trump win in the state.
—Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 11, 2022
Pennsylvania's legislature, like other Republican-controlled legislatures, held hearings about purported fraud in the weeks following the 2020 presidential election.
Eastman acknowledged that he did not, in fact, watch any of the hearings in Pennsylvania, but said he believed "they contained ample evidence of sufficient anomalies and illegal votes to have turned the election from Trump to Biden," including illegally-counted absentee ballots and poll watchers being denied access.
When it came to about 10,000 absentee ballots Eastman argued should be "discarded," he told Diamond, "you can take the absentee ballot ratio for each candidate in the counties were late-recieved ballots were illegally counted and deduct the pro-rated amount from each candidate's total."
Then with mail ballot signature matching violations, he said, "you could simply discount each candidates' totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received."
"Then, having done that math, you'd be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote," Eastman argued.
In October, about four weeks before the 2020 election, the Trump campaign lost a legal effort to invalidate some of Pennsylvania's rules surrounding signature matching and poll watchers. Neither the Trump campaign nor any other litigants were successful in proving that Biden's win by over 80,000 votes was the result of widespread fraud or irregularities.
Eastman's email to Diamond came eleven days after the Trump campaign suffered two more major legal defeats in court in Pennsylvania in its bid to overturn Trump's election loss. First, the state supreme court rejected the Trump campaign's efforts to disqualify mail-in ballots for lacking signatures, dates, and other information on the outer envelopes.
Then, a federal judge shot down the Trump campaign's last-ditch bid to block Pennsylvania from certifying its slate of 18 presidential electors for President Joe Biden, writing that "this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by the evidence."
Eastman played a key role in the intense efforts to overturn Trump's 2020 election through increasingly outlandish and extra-legal mechanisms, an effort that went all the way up to the day of the Capitol riots.
After a slew of court losses at the state level and unsuccessful attempts to sway state legislatures, President Donald Trump's team relied on legal analysis from Eastman in order to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject slates of Biden electors at the January 6 joint session of Congress, which Pence did not have the power to do.
Eastman is under scrutiny from the House Select Committee probing the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol, which is fighting in court to secure tens of thousands of Eastman's emails.
Eastman appeared for a deposition before the committee in December, but invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to the committee's questions.
Then, in late March, a federal judge ruled against Eastman's bid to block more emails and records from the committee — and found that Eastman and Trump "likely" conspired to commit felony obstruction of Congress.
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