With the Justice Department and Jan. 6 committee taking a close look at Donald Trump
’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, he and his cronies could certainly use a fall guy, and it looks like they’ve found their patsy: right-wing lawyer John Eastman
Eastman worked for Trump as the attorney devised legal strategies to overturn the election to keep the outgoing president in power. But, in recent weeks, Trump has confided to those close to him that he sees no reason to publicly defend Eastman, two people familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone
. The ex-president is also deeply annoyed with Eastman and all the negative “attention” and media coverage that the lawyer’s work has brought Trump and his inner sanctum, including during the ongoing Jan. 6 hearings on Capitol Hill.
Furthermore, to those who’ve spoken Trump about Eastman in recent months, the ex-president has repeated an excuse he often uses
when backed into a corner, as investigators confront him with an associates’ misdeeds: He has privately insisted he “hardly” or “barely” knows Eastman, despite the fact that he counseled Trump on taking a string of extra-legal measures in a bid to stay in power and wrote the so-called “coup memo,”
which laid out the facsimile of a legal argument for reversing Trump’s election defeat.
Exhibits posted by the committee last week included excerpts of a deposition by Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann in which he described a heated confrontation with Eastman the day after the insurrection where he told Eastman to “get a great fucking criminal defense lawyer” because “you’re going to need it.”
Shortly afterward, Eastman emailed fellow Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to say: “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.”
“Any time you give legal advice and then feel compelled to ask for a pardon, it probably wasn’t good legal advice,” says Steven Groves, formerly a lawyer and then a spokesman in Trump’s White House.
“How many lawyers did Trump have? He had several…And John Eastman has turned into the fall guy,” Mark Levin, a Fox News and radio host, said
on-air last week.
On Trump’s social media forum, Truth Social, the former president has remained silent about Eastman — even as he’s come to the defense of other aides and supporters now under scrutiny for their efforts to wage a coup against Joe Biden.
Trump aides have remained similarly quiet on the subject of Eastman. His spokeswoman Liz Harrington has not mentioned the campaign lawyer since a tweet on January 6
, when she hailed his speech at the rally on the mall “explain the rigged voting machine system that corrupt politicians kept in place for the GA runoffs.”
Trump in recent weeks has told confidants that he sees no reason to defend the lawyer who tried to help him overturn the 2020 election, sources tell Rolling Stone