‘Provide cover’: Batch of Eastman emails shed light on contacts with state legislatures

“Having made that calculation, you would end up with a significant lead from Trump which would strengthen the case for the legislature to adopt a Trump voter list – well within your authority to do so anyway, but now bolstered by the popular vote. intact,” Eastman wrote in a Dec. 4, 2020, email to Pennsylvania Rep. Russ Diamond. “That would help provide some coverage.”

Biden ultimately won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

The exchange was among a batch of emails obtained from the University of Colorado, where Eastman worked as a visiting professor during the time he was helping Trump strategize to stay in power. The emails were obtained through public records requests by the Colorado Ethics Institute, which sent them to the Jan. 6 select committee last month. It’s unclear whether the select committee had already obtained those emails — which are available through public records requests — or whether they are receiving the files from the Colorado group.

The Denver Post first reported the existence of the emails.

The Jan. 6 select committee is waging a legal battle with Eastman in federal court in California to obtain hundreds of emails sent and received by Eastman through his other previous employer, Chapman University. The panel has already won several rounds in this case, securing key emails sent by Eastman from January 4-7, 2021, but the panel is still battling to receive thousands of pages sent as January 6 approaches.

The select committee and Eastman’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

The emails between Eastman and Diamond show in more granularity the advice Eastman was offering Republican state lawmakers as he began drafting legal documents for Trump in the Supreme Court and other litigation. He urged Diamond to change the language of his proposed resolution in several ways and even underlined his proposed resolution.

“I would also include after paragraph 3 a specific legislative determination that the voters list certified by the governor in connection with the illegally conducted election is also null and void,” Eastman suggested.

Although Eastman would later go on to suggest that then-Vice President Mike Pence might single-handedly refuse to count Biden’s voters, his exchanges with Diamond in early December suggest he hadn’t fully embraced the theory that has since come to define his effort to help Trump cling to power.

In another Dec. 4 email, Eastman told Diamond that it would be futile for Republican members of Congress to file objections to the election results because the Voter Count Act — the federal law that governs counting electoral votes since 1887 – required both the House and the Senate to support such objections, an impossibility with a Democratic-led House.

“See 3 USC § 15,” insisted Eastman, a reference to the voter count law’s place in the federal code.

In an email to POLITICO, Diamond described Eastman as “one of many people I interacted with in the aftermath of the 2020 general election.” He said he didn’t know if Eastman had contact with other Pennsylvania lawmakers. He also said he did not recall Eastman raising anything about Pence’s role in the process.

Diamond noted that the proposals he exchanged with Eastman were drafts and that “any ideas that bounced around in draft form are not included in the final product”. He added that he believes “jealously guarding and preserving the legitimate authority of the Pennsylvania General Assembly should always remain a priority.”

Eastman’s theory that Pence could kick Biden voters was based on the idea that the voter count law itself was unconstitutional and therefore could be ignored. He spent the final days before Jan. 6, 2021, pressuring Pence to repeatedly violate provisions of the Voter Count Act to prevent Biden from taking office.

In litigation between Eastman and the California select committee, a federal judge ruled in March that Eastman and Trump likely criminally conspired to void the election by pushing that concept in the absence of legal backing, particularly after no state legislature has agreed to the plan to overturn the election results and nominate Trump voters. United States District Court Judge David Carter described the effort as “a coup in search of legal theory”.

Still, on Dec. 4, Eastman explained to Diamond that provisions of the Voter Count Act — the federal law that has governed the counting of electoral votes since 1887 — would prevent Trump from winning unless state legislatures ruled against him. act to replace Biden voters. He criticized Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers for sending a letter that day encouraging their congressional delegation to challenge the Jan. 6 election results because, he said, the voter count law required the support from the House and the Senate.

“So don’t let your colleagues rest on this letter,” Eastman wrote.

During GOP-led hearing in Georgia on Dec. 3, 2020, Eastman also hinted at the vice president’s potential power to resolve disputes over electoral votes, but he said the issue was an “unresolved issue” with experts going into “both sense”.

The Eastman lot also included an exchange with two Colorado-based businessmen that happened days after the attack on the Capitol. During the January 9, 2021 exchange, Eastman suggested that he had previously met with former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne and had “high-level meetings” about a theory that Byrne had adopted.

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