january 6

Trump Lawyer Blamed Pence for Capitol Riot While It Was Still Happening

Former Chapman University law professor John Eastman, standing on stage with Rudy Giuliani at the Stop the Steal rally preceding the Capitol Riot on January 6. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Shutterstock

As a pro-Trump mob chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, one of Trump’s lawyers, John Eastman, sent an email to the vice-president’s top lawyer blaming him and Pence for the riot.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman wrote in an email to Greg Jacob, Pence’s lawyer, according to the Washington Post. The email was sent while Jacob, Pence, and other Pence advisers were hunkered down under guard in a secure area after rioters attacked and entered the Capitol.

Eastman is the conservative legal scholar who outlined a legal blueprint for Trump to subvert the will of American voters and deny Joe Biden his election victory, including the dubious idea that Pence could stop Congress’s certification of that victory on January 6. Eastman was one of several people, including Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, on a team that tried to dream up ways Trump could hold onto power after he lost the election.

Eastman’s email may represent an effort by the Trump team to leverage the insurrection, as it happened, to prevent the certification of Biden’s win. (And it’s not the only indication of that.)

After the riot, Jacob drafted an op-ed (which was never published, but has now been disclosed to the Post) arguing that Eastman’s email blaming Pence showcases “a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time” and calling for him to be disciplined by the American Bar Association.

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 siege plans to subpoena Eastman as it investigates Trump’s role in the insurrection.

The news comes as Trump representatives seek to withhold information from House investigators looking into the January 6 attack on the Capitol — including daily presidential diaries, drafts of election-related speeches, logs of his phone calls, handwritten notes, and the files of top aides — according to a Saturday morning court filing from the National Archives.

Trump Lawyer Blamed Pence for Capitol Riot While It Happened