A lawyer for then-President Donald Trump blamed Mike Pence for causing the violence at the US Capitol on January 6 with his refusal to block Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results – as the riot was occurring and the then-vice president hid from the mob who had breached the building, the Washington Post reported.
“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,” John Eastman, the lawyer with Trump’s legal team, wrote to Greg Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel, in an email – referring to Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the election, the Post reported.
The Post reported that the email was sent as Pence, who had been presiding over the Senate’s vote count, and his team were sheltering in place in a secure location in the Capitol complex. Rioters had stormed the building and were chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
The emails from Eastman shed further light on the extent of the pressure Pence faced to intervene and stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election. In comments unearthed by CNN’s KFile, Eastman implied during a January 2 radio interview that if Pence had enough “courage and the spine,” he could overthrow the election.
According to the Post, Eastman’s message was in reply to Jacob’s email that criticized the legal advice he gave Pence about stopping Congress’ certification of the results and read: “Thanks to your bull—-, we are now under siege.”
Eastman later emailed Jacob again, saying he had wanted Pence to postpone the vote count so that states could investigate, the Post reported.
After the Capitol was cleared of rioters and Pence returned to preside over the Senate, Eastman sent another email to Jacob saying that Pence should still not certify the election results, according to the Post.
Eastman confirmed the emails to the Post, but denied that he was blaming Pence for the violence. He told the newspaper that Trump’s team was right to exhaust “every legal means” to challenge the 2020 election results. CNN has reached out to both Eastman and Jacob for comment.
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
Jacob included Eastman’s email in a draft opinion piece about Trump’s outside legal team who were trying to assist the Republican President’s efforts to overturn the election, according to the Post, which obtained a copy of the unpublished draft.
In his draft article, Jacob wrote that Eastman “displayed a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time” by sending the email at that time, the Post reported.
The House select committee investigating the US Capitol insurrection plans to subpoena Eastman if he chooses not to cooperate with its inquiry, CNN reported this week.
Ahead of January 6, Eastman had tried to convincing Pence that he could overturn the election results.
In a two-page memo, Eastman had laid out a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election for Trump, which would result in the election being decided in the House of Representatives, where each state would get one vote, and Republicans control the majority of state delegations.
The memo was obtained by the Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, the authors of “Peril,” and was subsequently obtained by CNN.
The plan was first proposed to Pence when Eastman was with Trump in the Oval Office on January 4.
Eastman previously told CNN that the two-page memo had been only a preliminary draft and provided CNN with a longer six-page memo that outlined several other scenarios for Pence to take on January 6.
He also told CNN that during the January 4 Oval Office meeting with Trump and Pence, he had told the then-vice president that he should only delay certifying votes in seven states, not try to throw the election to Trump.
But in his January 2 radio interview, according to KFile’s reporting, Eastman suggested Pence could do just what his memo outlined.
Eastman recently told CNN that his statements have been consistent and that he told Pence during their January 4 meeting that throwing the election to the House was “the weaker argument” and ultimately did not advise it.