The Justice Department has issued another subpoena to a former member of Donald Trump’s White House legal team in its investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, this time to Eric Herschmann. Representing Trump in his first impeachment trial before moving on to being a senior Trump aide, Herschmann has already given testimony to the House Select Committee – appearing during the investigative panel’s televised hearings.
Though technically an aide to the former President, Herschmann would sometimes provide legal advice – which blurs the lines between what does and doesn’t fall under attorney-client privilege.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has also been subpoenaed.
Herschmann was present at several key meetings between Trump aides and allies who wanted the losing President to keep fighting the results of the 2020 election, including the one where Trump wanted to install Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as acting Attorney General – ousting Jeffrey Rosen.
Clark had encouraged his DOJ colleagues to send letters to state legislators saying the department had found concerning evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election, reported POLITICO. The scheme was so badly received by other Justice Dept. employees that they threatened to quit en masse.
The day after the insurrection attempt, in a phone call with former Trump attorney J0hn Eastman – architect of the plot to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to violate his oath and overturn or delay the electoral vote – Herschmann made his feelings known to Trump’s coup co-conspirator:
“And I said to him, ‘Are you out of your F-ing mind?’” Herschmann told the panel. “I said, ‘I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: orderly transition.’”
According to Herschmann’s taped testimony, after Eastman repeated the words:
“I said, ‘Good, John. Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life: Get a great F-ing criminal defense lawyer. You’re going to need it,’” Herschmann added. “And then I hung up on him.”
Herschmann isn’t known to mince words. After giving such candid testimony in Congress’s investigation into the conspiracy leading up to the violence of Jan. 6, attorney-client privilege aside, the former White House aide’s fly-on-the-wall status will provide plenty of usable testimony and evidence in the mounting case against Donald Trump.
Original reporting by Betsy Woodruff Swan at Politico.
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