Eastman complies with order to hand over documents, then asks House committee not to read them

Eastman complies with order to hand over documents, then asks House committee not to read them

Spoiler alert: The committee went right ahead and read them.

Last week, a federal judge ordered former Trump attorney John Eastman to turn over a series of documents in response to a subpoena from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Eastman did so, coming in just under the wire on Sunday afternoon. But at the same time, he filed a motion that included a pack of complaints about how a judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had not gotten back to Eastman, despite repeated efforts (in a series of calls documented down to the minute, that came so close together that it’s easy to imagine that judge hitting the “spam” button).

Meanwhile, even as Eastman was pounding on the door of the Ninth Circuit asking for a stay, he was also desperately calling District Court Judge David Carter and begging him to hold off until someone from the appeals court got back to him. Carter refused to give more time. The appeals court didn’t call back. So Eastman reluctantly turned over the documents, but with a twist.

Eastman filed an official supplement complaining that, after he turned in the documents, members of the select committee had the audacity to read them.

From Eastman’s complaint

In order to comply fully with the district court’s production order, counsel for Dr. Eastman provided to the Select Committee at 2:04 pm PDT a link to a drop box folder containing the remaining eight documents that were the subject of the Motion to Stay that was at the time (and is still) pending before the Ninth Circuit. In the email transmitting that link, counsel for Dr. Eastman requested that the documents not be accessed until the Ninth Circuit had had a chance to rule on the Motion for Stay pending appeal. Instead of honoring that request, counsel for the Select Committee notified Dr. Eastman’s counsel at 6:26 pm PDT and 6:40 pm PDT that the Select Committee had “downloaded and examined” the disputed documents, falsely asserting that there was no motion for stay pending before the Ninth Circuit at the time.

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The motion to stay actually didn’t appear on the docket until 6:08PM. The committee notified Eastman that the documents had been examined at 6:26PM. And somehow, Eastman concluded that the documents were read in the 18 minutes after that stay actually appeared on the docket, not in the four hours before it made it there. Oh, and Eastman was four minutes late filing those documents. Nice of him to fess up.

Of course, says Eastman, this means that if the appeals court rules in his favor, and it turns out that any of these documents described crimes, he’s now immune from being prosecuted on those crimes because the committee looked at the documents just as they were entirely legally entitled to at the time. This would be another lesson from the John Eastman School of How the Law Does Not Work.

Eastman isn’t just staying busy in court this week. As Politico reported on Friday, the attorney who laid out the plan for how Donald Trump could break the electoral system, isn’t letting his failure in that coup stop him from couping again. 

In a speech to GOP poll workers in New Mexico, Eastman encouraged them to file complaints that would provide justification for challenging any Democratic victories in court. 

Eastman advised his audience to “politely” and “gingerly,” and even with “a smile” create paper trails, suggesting altogether different end goals. These include giving losing GOP candidates ammunition to argue in court—and to the public—against the integrity of the voting and to pressure local commissions not to certify elections.

To that end, Eastman also told the attendees to a speech on “election integrity” to take down the names of judges who ruled against them or refused to hear these made-up challenges. He also provided instructions on poll watchers and challengers on how to make voting as irritating as possible for those they suspected of being Democratic voters (how they would make that guess is left up to not-much-imagination-required). The attendees were told to challenge people’s signatures, make them restate their birth years, even challenge them when they “didn’t speak loudly enough” so that they had to say their name and other information loudly, in front of everyone present. Eastman encouraged challengers to be confrontational, telling them that anyone who refused to give them anything they asked for was “committing a crime.”

The group that obtained the copy of Eastman’s speech suggested that all this — along with Eastman’s advice on how to put more Republicans on county election commissions — was intended to provide justification for counties refusing to certify election results when Democrats win.

Eastman may not be good at actually be dealing with the law in court, but he’s excellent at giving Republicans what they want — instructions on destroying democracy.

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