The Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank that ex-Trump legal adviser John Eastman works for as a senior fellow, on Monday defended Eastman’s memo to then-President Donald Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence that laid out how the latter could hijack the 2020 election certification process to keep Trump in power.
The organization released a statement that spun Eastman’s memo, which blatantly sought to help Trump subvert the election, as mere “legal advice” that has “since been maliciously misrepresented and distorted by major media outlets.”
The statement attempted to whitewash Eastman’s actions by presenting two points that give a misleading narrative of the lawyer’s memo.
“Contrary to almost universally false news accounts, which have done great damage, John did not ask the Vice President, who was presiding over the Joint Session of Congress where electoral votes were to be counted on January 6, to ‘overturn’ the election or to decide the validity of electoral votes,” the Claremont Institute argued in its first point.
While it’s true that Eastman’s memo did not literally ask Pence to overturn the election, the document clearly provided the then-vice president the blueprint to do so.
The institute went on to argue in its second point that “[i]f the state legislatures had found sufficient illegal conduct to have altered the results, and as a result submitted a second slate of electors, John advised the Vice President that, despite credible legal arguments to the contrary, the Vice President should regard Congress, not the Vice President, as having the authority to choose between the two slates.”
Except Eastman’s suggestion that Pence throw that authority to Congress (which was only one several scenarios devised by the lawyer) was central to the proposed scheme: “Republicans currently control 26 of the state delegations, the bare majority needed to win that vote. President Trump is re-elected there as well,” Eastman wrote.
The Claremont Institute complained that it and Eastman have faced “censorship” even from the right-wing Federalist Society, which has “refused to allow” the lawyer to “discuss essential constitutional questions.”
“These attempts to limit the Claremont Institute’s and John Eastman’s ability to express their views mark a dangerous escalation in the censorship now threatening American democracy,” the organization wrote without a hint of irony.