John Eastman, a far-right lawyer for then-President Donald Trump who wanted to block his electoral loss in 2020, is still withholding about 3,200 documents from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, according to a new court filing this week.
Eastman previously was ordered by the court to turn over 101 documents after he unsuccessfully tried to claim some of his emails from January 4 through January 7, 2021, were confidential legal communications related to Trump. Since then, Eastman has continued to work through nearly 100,000 pages of emails from his Chapman University account that the House Committee seeks from other dates around the election.
At this time, Eastman is arguing that the thousands of documents, comprising about 36,000 pages, should stay confidential.
We note that this is the same tranche of email that the judge ruled on previously:
One email, a draft memo for Rudy Giuliani, was obtained by the committee because [Federal Judge David Carter] decided it was potentially being used to plan a crime. The memo recommended that then-Vice President Mike Pence reject some states’ electors during the January 6 congressional meeting.
“This may have been the first time members of President Trump’s team transformed a legal interpretation of the Electoral Count Act into a day-by-day plan of action,” Carter wrote.
“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” the judge also wrote.
The judge ordered the release of the other emails in the batch because they weren’t about litigation, so couldn’t be protected as the work of an attorney.
Carter’s reasoning was a startling acknowledgment by a federal court that Trump’s interest in overturning the election could be considered criminal. The House Committee doesn’t have the ability to prosecute Trump or his allies, but it has toyed with formally asking the Justice Department to investigate. In the case, the House made the bold move of arguing Trump was trying to obstruct Congress and to defraud the government by blocking his loss of the election and discussing it with Eastman, an argument Carter agreed with.
Anyway Eastman is not forthcoming with the documents and so The Committee is waiting, and every day brings us closer to the GOP dissolving The Committee, and eventually democracy itself.