The House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, argued to a federal judge Monday night that Trump election attorney John Eastman has been “consistently unreliable” as he’s tried to protect his communications from the ongoing probe and that the investigators should now get access to more emails from one of his work email accounts.
The judge, David O. Carter of the federal district court in central California, already released many of Eastman’s emails from around January 2021 to House investigators, but the two sides are still arguing over 562 additional documents from Eastman’s Chapman University email account.
The latest court filing from the House highlights how the January 6 probe has already collected troves of communications and continues to push for information.
In their filing Monday night, lawyers for the House argued that Eastman is unreliable because he said previously that some of his emails were attorney communications, such as confidential legal advice and co-counsel discussions. But when the House probe received them, they said, the documents shouldn’t have been protected.
One was a photograph of a Trump campaign rally with a handwritten note on it commenting on rally attendance, that Trump had forwarded to Eastman through his assistant, the House said. Yet Eastman’s legal team had maintained the note, including the words “NO WAY THIS LOSES,” was about anticipated litigation.
Another email that Eastman’s team said was attorney communications was a joking discussion between lawyers about stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
“A shame you are not in DC and could contribute to violation of the emoluments clause,” one Trump campaign lawyer wrote. “I[‘]m stay[i]ng at Trump Int [i]n DC from Jan 3 to at [l]east the 8th. Do[i]ng my part to curry favor w[i]th the Pres[i]dent by [li]n[i]ng h[i]s (empty) pockets! [smiley face emoji],” another wrote.
In response to the House’s filing, Eastman’s legal team released a statement accusing the committee of trying to “undermine the attorney-client relationship” and pry into more of his emails. Eastman’s team also said the examples the House cited as unreliable privilege assertions were misleading.
“Dr. Eastman, like all lawyers, is under a solemn obligation to protect client confidences. The January 6 Committee is under no such obligation to keep the full results of its investigation secret from the public,” Eastman’s lawyers wrote.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.