John Eastman is giving up. The man who helped draft the plan to steal the 2020 presidential election for Donald Trump has already been told by a federal judge that he likely committed federal crimes. Now he is voluntarily dropping a lawsuit trying to prevent the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol from getting access to his phone records.
In what appears to be a face saving-move, Eastman dropped the suit after he received assurances from the Committee that it was only after the logs of his calls. not the actual content of the calls and messages which the Select Committee does not believe it has the authority to request.
Eastman may also be bowing to reality after the Justice Department sent FBI agents to seize Eastman’s phone last week. This means that a different branch of government already has access to both the phone logs and any voice mail for text messages that it may contain, including any messages sent by encrypted apps such as Signal.
Additionally, Eastman has lost previous court challenges seeking to claim attorney-client privileges over hundreds of Trump-related emails that the House Select Committee was seeking. He was forced to turn those over a few weeks ago by the same judge, David Carter, who had determined that Eastman and Trump had “likely” conducted a criminal conspiracy to obstruct Congress in what Carter called “a coup in search of a legal theory.”
According to POLITICO:
“The panel has described Eastman as a key driver of Trump’s fringe effort to overturn the 2020 election when Congress convened on Jan. 6 to count electoral votes.”
“Eastman, working with other attorneys, developed a strategy to lean on then-Vice President Mike Pence to single-handedly reverse the election that day, as he presided over the counting ceremony. The select committee showed evidence suggesting White House lawyers, Pence and campaign officials raised grave legal doubts about Eastman’s plan.”
While Eastman may have abandoned this particular lawsuit over his phone logs, he replaced it with a new lawsuit with a motion in federal court last week seeking to retrieve his seized mobile device from the FBI.
Original reporting by Kyle Cheney at POLITICO.