In the final installment of a three-part interview series with former Trump lawyer John Eastman, Chairman of the Board of the conservative think tank the Claremont Institute Tom Klingenstein explores the prudence of Eastman’s guidance to former President Trump on the legality of delaying the certification of electors on Jan. 6, 2021.
A third indictment against Trump was announced Tuesday by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol protest, which charges the former president with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct an Official Proceeding, and Conspiracy Against Rights.
[RELATED: Biden DOJ Indicts Trump for Jan. 6 Role]
Eastman has been widely reported to be the second among Trump’s alleged co-conspirators in Smith’s indictment, which describes him as “an attorney who devised and attempted to implement a strategy to leverage the Vice President’s [Mike Pence’s] ceremonial role overseeing the certification proceeding to obstruct the certification of the presidential election.”
In part one of the interview series, Klingenstein pressed Eastman to provide evidence for his claims of widespread illegality occurring in the 2020 presidential election.
Part two was a discussion on the constitutionality and legal or historical precedent of pursuing a legal remedy in response to the purported illegality and fraud presented in part one.
Part three focuses on whether or not Eastman and Trump should have pursued that remedy.
Eastman clarifies that he did not advise then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes, but rather to delay the certification of electors at the request of numerous state legislators who had informed Pence of illegal conduct in the election significant enough to put the election into question.
“The power to accept their requests to delay so that they could asses the impact I thought was within his authority,” Eastman said, speaking of his meeting with then-VP Pence on Jan. 4.
The former Trump attorney said that he took Pence at his word in that he was taking the legal scholarship regarding his authority to delay the certification into account and not taking a position one way or another.
“I kind of took stock of him at the meeting on January 4th and realized he wasn’t going to do it,” Eastman said. “But even then, there was still some talk that he might recuse himself and that this President Pro Tem of the Senate, Chuck Grassley, or the next most senior member of the Senate, might step in and fulfill that role.”
Eastman explains that he pursued legal recourse in regards to the 2020 election because left-wing control of the Democratic Party 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 Trump seems to understand that in a way a lot of Republican establishment types in Washington don’t,” he said. “And it’s the reason he gets so much support in the hinterland, in the flyover country, people are fed up, with folks, you know, get along, go along, while the country is being destroyed.”
“So I think the stakes are much bigger, and 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 the nobility of America and the American experiment is really at stake, and we ought to fight for it,” Eastman said.
Eastman responded to the narrative that by their legal strategy he and Trump tried to initiate a coup by saying “trying to stop an illegal election is not a coup, but trying to thwart a coup.”
Watch the full interview between Thomas Klingenstein and John Eastman below: