WASHINGTON — Even by the standards of other ideas promoted by conservative attorney John Eastman to keep President Donald J. Trump in the White House after his 2020 election loss, a newly unveiled strategy he proposed to get votes from Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Pennsylvania stands out as particularly sassy.
Mr Eastman urged a Pennsylvania state legislator in December 2020 to implement a plan to strip Mr Biden from his victory in that state by applying a mathematical equation to accept ballot validity , which were most widely used by Democrats during the pandemic, according to emails from Mr. Eastman released at the request of the University of Colorado Boulder, which employed him at the time.
The emails were the latest evidence of how far Trump and his allies were willing to go in the weeks after Election Day to keep him in power — complete with anti-democratic plans to install fake pro-Trump voters and vote of Biden supporters. Mr Eastman would go on to defend the idea that Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally block congressional certification of Mr Biden’s electoral college victory, an idea Mr Pence rejected even as Mr Trump promoted the protests which culminated in the 6 January. attack on the Capitol.
On December 4, 2020, Mr. Eastman wrote to Pennsylvania State Representative Russell H. Diamond, using his university email account, with plans for the legislature to nominate pro-Trump voters.
He suggested that a mathematical equation could be applied to the vote to reject ballots for candidates at “a pro rata amount”.
Eastman said he based his recommendations on his belief that Trump’s legal team had “provided sufficient evidence of enough anomalies and illegal votes to have turned Trump’s election into Biden” during public hearings across the country, including in Pennsylvania. But he admitted that he had not seen the hearings.
“If you did that math, you’d have a significant Trump edge that would bolster the argument for the legislature to pass a slate of Trump voters — perfectly within your purview to do anyway, but now bolstered by the unaffected popular vote,” Mr Eastman wrote. “That would provide some coverage.”
He also encouraged Mr. Diamond to let the legislature make a specific determination that “the list of voters certified by the governor,” and those elected by the voters, was “null and void.”
In one email, Mr. Diamond replied that Mr. Trump’s attorneys had not provided strong evidence of fraud at the Pennsylvania hearing.
Frankly, Trump’s legal team wasn’t exactly great at the PA hearing, failed to provide their witnesses’ affidavits and made a blatant mistake in claiming that more ballots had been returned than sent,” he wrote.
On December 13, the day before all 50 states were due to vote in the Electoral College, Mr. Eastman once again with Mr. Diamond to keep up with the plan to create an alternate list of voters in Pennsylvania.
“Voters absolutely need to meet,” Mr Eastman wrote to the legislature. “Then, if the legislature gets some backbone AND there is (political) evidence of fraud and/or illegal votes sufficient to alter the outcome of the election, those electoral votes will be available to be certified by the legislature. ”
In one email, Mr. Diamond introduced Mr. Eastman to the Republican House majority leader in the state, crediting Mr. Eastman with “opening my eyes to our ability to exercise our plenary powers to target presidential voters.” (without ANY ‘proof’ of ‘voter fraud’).”
An attorney for Mr Eastman did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
In a brief interview on Tuesday, Mr Diamond said he first learned about Mr Eastman and his theories about the power of state legislators to shape elections when the lawyer testified before the Georgian legislature in early December 2020.
Mr. Diamond added that when he began corresponding with Mr. Eastman about election results in Pennsylvania, he thought that Mr. Eastman was just a law professor and did not realize he was associated with the Trump campaign. Mr. Diamond said he has never pursued the idea of disqualifying ballots with votes for Mr. Biden, although Pennsylvania Republicans have tried multiple avenues to contest the election results, including filing a lawsuit, appealing to members of Congress and conduct a forensic investigation.
The university has released more than 700 emails and other documents from Mr. Eastman to bohobarmadrid in response to a public request for information. The documents were previously released to the Colorado Ethics Institute and previously reported by The Denver Post and Politico.
The Colorado Ethics Institute, a nonprofit organization that tries to hold officials accountable for ethics and transparency regulations, delivered the emails on April 19 to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack.
Curtis Hubbard, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, called for a “thorough audit” of Mr. Eastman’s tenure at the university to “determine the school’s connection — consciously or unconsciously — to one of the darkest days in history.” the history of this country.”
A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment.
Justice Department officials have said they are investigating some of the plans Mr Eastman supported to undo the election – the most significant of which is a plan to use so-called alternative voter rolls in key swing states won by Mr Biden. . But Mr Diamond said no one from the Justice Department had contacted him.
The records show that the university paid for Mr. Eastman’s travel the weekend after the election to an academic conference in Philadelphia, where he told The Times that his role in Mr. Trump’s attempts to stay in power, began. At the time of the trip, Mr. Trump’s closest associates, including Corey Lewandowski, were drafting a legal brief at a nearby hotel to challenge the results in Pennsylvania. One of Mr. Trump’s employees contacted Mr. Eastman to see if he could go to the hotel to help Mr. Trump’s team.
In early December, Mr. Trump called to see if Mr. Eastman could help litigate directly in the Supreme Court. In the days that followed, Mr. Eastman filed two statements in court on behalf of Mr. Trump, but those attempts quickly failed.
The emails also paint a portrait of Mr. Eastman as a visiting professor in Colorado who was respected as a conservative thinker — garnering praise from conservative students, including one who thanked him for “the courage to stand up for your beliefs” and complained. about was harassed by liberal professors “because he was a white man” — until he fell into disrepute at university when his attempts to undo the election became public.
After more than 200 professors and students signed a petition against him for questioning the election results on Twitter, he wrote: “Oh brother. These people are tireless.”
And he complained in emails that he was overworked as he rushed to challenge the election on behalf of Mr. Trump and deliver his classes via Zoom.
For a while, he retained the support of his supervisors, including one who encouraged him when Mr. Eastman told him he was doing legal work for Mr. Trump.
But after Mr. Eastman spoke at the pro-Trump rally on Jan. 6 that preceded the Capitol riots, falsely claiming that Democrats put the ballots in “a secret folder” in the voting machines to manipulate the results, he became a lightning rod for criticism.
That same afternoon, a former university colleague wrote to him that he had engaged in “seditious actions” during his speech. Within hours, Mr Eastman fired back, calling the accusation “defamatory.”
As the days wore on, Mr. Eastman defended himself against a torrent of attacks from those who called him “a traitor” or worse.
He often dismissed the violence that erupted in the Capitol and sometimes blamed it on the left-wing activists known as antifa.
Citing low enrollment numbers, the university canceled Mr. Eastman’s spring classes and his contract with the university expired.
In the months since, more information has emerged about Mr Eastman’s pivotal role in undoing the election, including writing a memo detailing the steps he believes he could take to impeach Mr Trump. to keep the power.
In March, a federal judge in a civil case ruled that Mr. Eastman and Mr. Trump had most likely committed crimes when they pushed for the election to be reversed, including obstructing the work of Congress and plotting to defraud the United States. .
Mr Trump and Mr Eastman’s actions, the judge ruled, amounted to “a coup in search of a legal theory”.