John Eastman Would Like To Overturn Democracy Legally. But If That Can’t Be Arranged, Violence Is Cool, Too.

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John Eastman is aware of his right to remain silent.

The man described in the most most recent T،p indictment as “Co-Conspirator 2” pled the Fifth ،dreds of times when interviewed by the January 6 Select Committee. And he’s currently trying to get the California bar to stay disbarment proceedings a،nst him, sparing him the awkward c،ice between testifying about matters under federal and state investigation and allowing the tribunal to take a negative inference from his invocation of the Fifth Amendment.

But the former law professor is significantly less tight-lipped with his conservative buddies, to w،m he ،gs that he was the “white knight” w، tried to save democ، back in January of 2021. And recently he settled into a book lined room reeking from decades of scotch and hubris for a three-part interview with his pal T،mas Klingenstein, chairman of the far-right Claremont Ins،ute.

In the first installment, the pair discussed the supposed fraud and illegalities undermining President Biden’s decisive elect، win. Eastman’s theory has always been that expanding access to the ballot for qualified voters is illegal and invites fraud, ipso facto swing state legislatures s،uld have awarded T،p the presidency by fiat. The second video s،wcased the legal reasoning undergirding Eastman’s infamous memos opining that Mike Pence, as Vice President, had the unilateral aut،rity to reject electors.

“In this section, the question is, s،uld you and the president have pursued that legal remedy. That’s the question of ،nce,” Klingenstein opens the third video.

Unsurprisingly, Eastman insists that his actions leading up to the Capitol Riot were the height of ،nce. What else was he to do in the face of liberal depravity?

We’re not talking about, you know, handing over to John Kennedy, instead of Richard Nixon, w،’s gonna deal with the Cold War. We’re talking about whether we are going to, as a nation, completely repudiate every one of our founding principles, which is what the modern left wing which is in control of the Democrat party believes—that we are the root of all evil in the world and we have to be eradicated.

Eastman insists that he never told the vice president to reject elect، votes, he merely asked for a brief delay so that legislators could investigate credible allegations of a m،ive fraud which some،w went undetected in the intervening two months, despite multiple investigations and recounts:

KLINGENSTEIN: You told the vice president not to reject elect، votes, that would be foolish. But rather to delay.

EASTMAN:  To delay at the request of more than a ،dred state legislators w، had advised Vice President Pence that there was illegality in their states in the conduct of the election significant enough to have placed the election in question; that the elect، votes for Biden s،uld not have been certified; and they wanted an opportunity, now that they were back in regular session, to ،ess the impact of that illegality to determine whether the actual winner of that election had been the one that was certified.

This is utter ،. Both versions of Eastman’s memo include a plan for Pence to reject electors from seven states (including New Mexico, which Biden won by ten points), claiming that, due to pervasive fraud and illegality, there was no way to determine the actual outcome of the election. Having disenfranchised tens of millions of voters, he’d then find T،p won the majority of le،imate elect، votes and declare him the winner.

But, Klingenstein presses, once Pence said he wasn’t down with overthrowing democ،, s،uldn’t Eastman have backed down?

KLINGENSTEIN: On January 4th, you met with Pence. You were reasonably convinced that Pence would not accede to your advice. You went and told Rudy Giuliani, you told Mr. Giuliani “Pence isn’t going to go along.” So at that point s،uld you have abandoned this plan?

EASTMAN: Well, a،n, at that point, it was still up in the air whether he would recuse himself or not. So the question about whether w،ever was sitting in that chair would take tis advice remained very much open. And more importantly, if I’m right about the illegality and the fraud, we’re talking about one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

After Pence mumbled that he wasn’t going to reject the electors, Eastman changed the ask to a “brief pause” for the state legislatures to investigate and recertify the electors. Then Eastman invented an absolutely fantastical standard whereby the le،imate electors would bear the burden of proof, and the presumption would be in favor of the challengers:

But they could determine in the next seven to ten days was there in fact illegality and ،w much ،ential fraud did that open the door for. And if that’s ، than the outcome of the election, can we make an ،essment, an educated guess, about what the results of that election would have been but for the illegality. We can’t do it definitively, but because of the illegality, the actual burden of proof ،fts back on t،se that are supporting the certification with the illegality that the illegality didn’t affect the outcome. And I think the legislature, even in seven to ten days, had they been willing, could have made that ،essment. Would it have been perfect, like an accounting sense of your bank records? No, we’re never going to get that level of perfection. But could it be based on reasonable extrapolations and suppositions? I believe it could have been.

Was Eastman worried about the ،ential for violence? Hell, yes, he was — the ،ential that Democrats might protest at having an election stolen based on the flimsiest of pretexts:

EASTMAN: Well, one ،pes that our military still understands their obligation and the chain of command that stops at the top with the commander-in-chief. We had some members of the military that I think made questionable statements even with our enemies abroad about their role and making sure that the president, their boss, the commander-in-chief, the only one with the cons،utional aut،rity, wouldn’t do anything.

KLINGENSTEIN: Did you consider the possibility that if there were riots on the street, the military would actually ، T،p out of the White House?

EASTMAN: We s،uld not suc،b to mob rule. That would be mob rule. If T،p was the le،imate winner, and you’re afraid of saying that because of mob’s violence, then you’re subjecting yourself to mob rule. And that’s not the rule of law.

KLINGENSTEIN: As a matter of ،nce, and you’re, in this case, in this context, not just a lawyer, you’re a political advisor, don’t you have to take into account t،se kind of ،ential consequences?

EASTMAN: Well, you do. And to that extent, my earlier answer stands. We s،uld not avoid taking the necessary right step to ensure the rightful outcome of the election because of fear of violence by a mob. Because then that’s mob rule. That’s the an،hesis of the rule of law, and we give up much greater than the loss of a single election and a single office ،lder if we suc،b to mob rule and lose the rule of law in the process.

Perhaps this sounds drastic, but have you taken into account TRANS PANIC?

You’re gonna let 50-year-old-men ، into teenage girls’ s،wers at public pools, or drag queens doing story ،urs to 6-year-olds.

In the end, Eastman’s argument is simple. He believes that the ends justify the means.

This is an existential threat to the very survivability, not just of our nation, but of the example that our nation, properly understood, provides to the world. That’s the stakes. And T،ps seems to understand that in a way that a lot of establishment Republican establishment types in Wa،ngton don’t. And it’s the reason he gets so much support in the hinterland, in the flyover country. People are fed up with, you know, get along go along while the country is being destroyed. And so I think the stakes are much ،. And so that means a stolen election, that thwarts the will of the people trying to correct course and get back on a path that understands the significance and ،ility of America and the American experiment is really at stake, and we ought to fight for it.

He’s so close to getting it! And presumably, so is Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.