Trump’s own think tank lawyer John Eastman just published a book review ripping up his memos about how Pence could have kept Trump in power


John Eastman (left) joined Rudy Giuliani at the Trump rally that preceded the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill.REUTERS / Jim Bourg

  • John Eastman’s think tank has released a “review” of his memos to keep Donald Trump in power.

  • The book review article also criticized the Claremont Institute for defending the conservative academic.

  • Eastman invoked the 5th Amendment in the face of scrutiny by the House committee on January 6.

In the weeks since Jan. 6, conservative jurist John Eastman began paying a professional price for becoming a key figure in President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to stay in power.

Amid protests that he helped incite the attack on the Capitol, he resigned from Chapman University in California and the University of Colorado banned him from speaking as a representative of the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization, where he was a visiting professor. . That left Eastman with one final official role: that of principal investigator at the Claremont Institute, a conservative Southern California think tank.

But even this think tank has now contributed to the chorus of critics.

A book review published by the Claremont Institute recently published a “review” of memos prepared by Eastman outlining steps then-Vice President Mike Pence could take in January to keep Trump in power. Eastman’s rating was obtained by CNN in September after it was first revealed in “Peril,” a book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of the Washington Post.

In the article titled “A Critique of the Eastman Memos,” Joseph Bessette, professor at Claremont McKenna College, tore up Eastman’s claim that Pence could have intervened to keep Trump in power by delaying certification, Jan.6 , the victory of current President Joe Biden. A response from Eastman accompanied the article.

Bessette focused on a passage from Eastman’s memo setting out a scenario in which Pence would reject disputed voters, with the remaining votes giving Trump the majority.

“It is hardly surprising that this paragraph raised alarm bells in the media and received intense criticism from legal scholars and others,” Bessette wrote.

“You don’t have to be an American Foundation scholar, constitutional law professor, or electoral law expert to know that it just can’t be right,” he added.

Bessette, whose college is not affiliated with the Claremont Institute, declined to comment. His article featured on the cover of the latest issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

Eastman has come under scrutiny as new details emerged about Trump’s final weeks in the White House, a period in which the president lobbied the Justice Department to advances his baseless allegations of electoral fraud and finds ways to reverse his loss to Biden. Prominent lawyers have asked the California State Bar to open a malpractice investigation against Eastman, and the House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol subpoenaed him to testify and hand over files.

Eastman’s attorney responded to the committee on Wednesday saying he would invoke his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, Politico reported.

In the midst of this scrutiny, the Claremont Institute stood up for Eastman. Bessette criticized the think tank for taking this approach.

“Because I am a constitutional scholar and a political conservative, it pains me particularly that the Claremont Institute, whose vital mission is to” restore to the principles of the American foundation their legitimate and preeminent authority in our national life “, has, with its The October 11 public statement essentially surrounded the wagons, accusing “disinformation”, “the almost universally false accounts”, “willful misrepresentation” and “false and defamatory statements” of the controversy that followed the publication of the reports. memos, “he wrote.

Eastman declined a request from Insider to comment on the article. In his published response, Eastman responded to Bessette’s criticisms of the Claremont Institute’s continued defense of a lawyer whose memos were condemned as a plan for a coup.

“While I certainly appreciate the continued support of the Institute, I hope that giving myself a platform to defend my views is not based on an unwarranted sense of loyalty, as I would neither ask for nor deserve such loyalty if I had sought to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States, as I have been falsely accused of having done, “he wrote.

“As I have already noted, trying to prevent illegal conduct from deciding an election is not a ‘coup’.”

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