Lazy Caturday Reads

Le Chat Noir, Théophile Steinlen (1896)

Le Chat Noir, Théophile Steinlen (1896)

Good Afternoon!!

There is a great deal of news today about Trump’s attempted coup and his attempts to cover up what he did. The more that comes out the clearer it becomes that Trump really tried to bring down the U.S. government and install himself as a Putin-like strongman. Furthermore, he’s not finished yet.

Last night, The Washington Post broke a bombshell story about the extent of Trump lawyer John Eastman’s efforts to force Mike Pence to overturn the electoral college votes on January 6, 2020: During Jan. 6 riot, Trump attorney told Pence team the vice president’s inaction caused attack on Capitol.

As Vice President Mike Pence hid from a marauding mob during the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, an attorney for President Donald Trump emailed a top Pence aide to say that Pence had caused the violence by refusing to block certification of Trump’s election loss.

The attorney, John C. Eastman, also continued to press for Pence to act even after Trump’s supporters had trampled through the Capitol — an attack the Pence aide, Greg Jacob, had described as a “siege” in their email exchange.

“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 to Jacob, referring to Trump’s claims of voter fraud.

Eastman sent the email as Pence, who had been presiding in the Senate, was under guard with Jacob and other advisers in a secure area. Rioters were tearing through the Capitol complex, some of them calling for Pence to be executed.

The Post also published a draft op-ed that Jacob wrote but never submitted until now. Back to the original story:

Jacob, Pence’s chief counsel, included Eastman’s emailed remarks in a draft opinion article about Trump’s outside legal team that he wrote later in January but ultimately chose not to publish. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the draft. Jacob wrote that by sending the email at that moment, Eastman “displayed a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time.”

Black Cats in Paris, by Atelier De Jiel

Black Cats in Paris, by Atelier De Jiel

Jacob’s draft article, Eastman’s emails and accounts of other previously undisclosed actions by Eastman offer new insight into the mind-sets of figures at the center of an episode that pushed American democracy to the brink. They show that Eastman’s efforts to persuade Pence to block Trump’s defeat were more extensive than has been reported previously, and that the Pence team was subjected to what Jacob at the time called “a barrage of bankrupt legal theories.”

Eastman confirmed the emails in interviews with The Post but denied that he was blaming Pence for the violence. He defended his actions, saying that Trump’s team was right to exhaust “every legal means” to challenge a result that it argued was plagued by widespread fraud and irregularities.

“Are you supposed to not do anything about that?” Eastman said.

He stood by legal advice he gave Pence to halt Congress’s certification on Jan. 6 to allow Republican state lawmakers to investigate the unfounded fraud claims, which multiple legal scholars have said Pence was not authorized to do.

There’s much more at the link.

Also at The Washington Post, Aaron Black highlights the story’s revelation that Trump and Eastman tried to leverage the attack itself to force Pence’s hand: The most shocking new revelation about John Eastman.

After Pence aide Greg Jacob emailed Eastman to tell him that his “bull—-” legal advice was why Pence’s team was “under siege,” Eastman responded that it was in fact Pence’s fault.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this [election challenge] to be aired in a public way so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman replied, as revealed in a previously unpublished op-ed by Jacob.

Blaming a guy currently in hiding for fear of his life is certainly a position to take. We knew Trump posted a tweet attacking Pence early in the riot, even after Pence had just gone into hiding, but it hasn’t been clear that Trump knew he was in hiding or the level of the danger involved. Here is Trump’s lawyer suggesting that even when they were able to appreciate the danger, Pence was still being leaned on.

By Day She Made Herself Into A Cat, Arthur Rackham (1920)

By Day She Made Herself Into A Cat, Arthur Rackham (1920)

But that’s arguably not even the most compelling evidence that Trump and Eastman tried to leverage the mob. Check out this section of The Post’s report about what happened after the Capitol had been cleared and Congress had reconvened:

Pence allowed other lawmakers to speak before they returned to counting the votes, and said he wasn’t counting the time from his speech or the other lawmakers against the time allotted in the Electoral Count Act.

Eastman said that this prompted him to email Jacob to say that Pence should not certify the election because he had already violated the Electoral College Act, which Pence had cited as a reason that he could not send the electors back to the states.

“My point was they had already violated the electoral count act by allowing debate to extend past the allotted two hours, and by not reconvening ‘immediately’ in joint session after the vote in the objection,” Eastman told The Post. “It seemed that had already set the precedent that it was not an impediment.”

This is all a bit dense. But what it basically amounts to is Eastman attempting to use the fallout of a mob riot — one spurred by his and Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and Eastman’s highly unorthodox plan to overturn the election — to then get Pence to reject election results based upon a technicality.

This morning The Guardian published this piece by Ed Pinkington: ‘A roadmap for a coup’: inside Trump’s plot to steal the presidency.

In an interview with the Guardian, Eastman explained that he had been asked to prepare the memo by one of Trump’s “legal shop”. “They said can you focus first on the theory of what happens if there are not enough electoral votes certified. So I focused on that. But I said: ‘This is not my recommendation. I will have a fuller memo to you in a week outlining all of the various scenarios.’”

Inside the Oval Office, with the countdown on to 6 January, Trump urged Pence to listen closely to Eastman. “This guy’s a really respected constitutional lawyer,” the president said, according to the book I Alone Can Fix It.

Eastman, a member of the influential rightwing Federalist Society, told the Guardian that he made clear to both men that the account he had laid out in the short memo was not his preferred option. “The advice I gave the vice-president very explicitly was that I did not think he had the authority simply to declare which electors to count” or to “simply declare Trump re-elected”.

Eastman continued: “The vice-president turned to me directly and said, ‘Do you think I have such powers?’ I said, ‘I think it’s the weaker argument.’”

Grumpy Cat, by Vanessa Stockard

Grumpy Cat, by Vanessa Stockard

Instead, Eastman pointed to one of the scenarios in the longer six-page memo that he had prepared – “war-gaming” alternatives. His favorite was that the vice-president could adjourn the joint session of Congress on 6 January and send the electoral college votes back to states that Trump claimed he had lost unfairly so their legislatures could have another go at rooting out the fraud and illegality the president had been railing about since election day.

“My advice to the vice-president was to allow the states formally to assess the impact of what they had determined were clear illegalities in the conduct of the election,” Eastman said. After a delay of a week or 10 days, if they found sufficient fraud to affect the result, they could then send Trump electors back to Congress in place of the previous Biden ones.

The election would then be overturned.

“Those votes are counted and TRUMP WINS,” Eastman wrote in his longer memo, adding brashly: “BOLD, certainly … but we’re no longer playing by Queensbury rules.”

Then why did Eastman send that e-mail to Jacob in the middle of the violent insurrection? It’s pretty obvious that Eastman is just trying to get himself out of trouble. It’s a mystery to me why he hasn’t been disbarred. Pilkington’s story is long and well worth reading in full.

Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck at CNN’s KFILE: Trump lawyer John Eastman said ‘courage and the spine’ would help Pence send election to the House in comments before January 6.

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer working with then-President Donald Trump’s legal team, said in a radio interview in early January that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to throw the 2020 presidential election to the House of Representatives, saying it depended on whether Pence had “courage and the spine.” Those comments are more direct than how Eastman has recently described his conversation with Pence, when he has said he told the vice president it was an “open question” whether he could throw out seven states’ Electoral College votes and that it’d be a “foolish” option to pursue.

Two Black Cats, by Jacques Lehmann Nam

Two Black Cats, by Jacques Lehmann Nam

Eastman made the comments, unearthed by CNN’s KFile, on the radio show of former Trump White House senior adviser Stephen Bannon on January 2 — just two days before Eastman briefed both Pence and Trump on his controversial memo about how Pence could overturn the election and just four days before January 6, when he spoke at the rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol….

Eastman’s memo outlines a scenario in which Pence would disregard seven states’ Electoral College votes — making sure no candidate received the 270 Electoral College votes required to be declared the winner — thereby throwing the election to the House. Each state delegation would then have had one vote to cast for president, and since Republicans controlled 26 state delegations, a majority could have voted for Trump to win the election.

Eastman claims the memo does not reflect his own views and called the scenario to have Pence reject electoral votes and therefore throw the election to the House not “viable” and “crazy” to pursue in comments to the National Review. He also told CNN the memo was a draft.

In a conversation with CNN, Eastman said 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.

“My statement on Bannon on January 2 acknowledges that that was one of the scenarios that was being discussed. But the issue that I presented to the vice president, when he asked me point blank, I told him, I said, ‘It’s an open question,’ which is true. And I said, ‘I happen to think it’s the weaker argument,’ which is true. And that’s why I recommended that he delay rather than taking that step,” Eastman said.

After CNN pointed out that on Bannon’s radio show, Eastman did not specify that the option to throw the election to the House was the “weaker” option, Eastman responded, “That’s right. Because it was a radio show.”

Yeah, right. Eastman is a liar, and not a very good one.

There’s also news about the documents Trump is trying to hide from the January 6 committee. Kyle Cheney at Politico: Call logs, speech drafts among records Trump is trying to block from Jan. 6 investigators.

Donald Trump is seeking to prevent Jan. 6 investigators from accessing daily presidential diaries, drafts of election-related speeches, logs of his phone calls, handwritten notes and files of top aides, the National Archives revealed in a Saturday morning court filing.

According to the National Archives, the former president has sought to block about 750 pages out of nearly 1,600 identified by officials as relevant to the Jan. 6 investigation. Among them are hundreds of pages from “multiple binders of the former press secretary [Kayleigh McEnany] which is made up almost entirely of talking points and statements related to the 2020 election,” according to the court filing.

Donge Kobayashi

Painting by Donge Kobayashi

The filing details are the clearest indication yet of what Trump is trying to withhold from congressional investigators seeking information about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his activities on the day that a mob of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power.

The National Archives indicated that many files were drawn from the systems of key Trump aides including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, adviser Stephen Miller and deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.

Other documents include “draft text of a presidential speech for the January 6, 2021, Save America March; a handwritten list of potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls concerning election issues; and a draft Executive Order concerning election integrity … a draft proclamation honoring deceased Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, and associated e-mails from the Office of the Executive Clerk, which relate to the Select Committee’s interest in the White House’s response to the Capitol attack.”

“These records all relate to the events on or about January 6, and may assist the Select Committee’s investigation into that day, including what was occurring at the White House immediately before, during and after the January 6 attack,” Justice Department attorneys, acting on behalf of Archivist David Ferriero, wrote in the filing.

Read more at Politico; see also this article at CNN by Katlyn Polantz: New January 6 court filings reveal what Trump is trying to keep secret from Congress.

Have a very spooky Halloween weekend, Sky Dancers!


14 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:
  2. djmm says:

    Lovely black kitties! And a great roundup of an important topic.

    “‘…Eastman “displayed a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time.'”

    I think he was fully aware. He’s just a bad lawyer and apparently was OK with overthrowing the US government, even with violence. I wonder which state bars he is a member of? He should be concerned about his law license.

    • quixote says:

      Yeah. And I love the bit about him being a “conservative” lawyer in an article about how he’s trying to help overthrow the government.

      As you were saying (and I’ve been saying for years too) words don’t mean anything anymore.

      • NW Luna says:

        “Conservative” lawyer trying to overthrow the government. Can’t sum it up any better than this!

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. dakinikat says:

    Sweet Black Kitty pictures!!!!! That Eastman guy needs his license to practice yanked. What a scheming provocateur and all-around POS.

  5. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      No charges?

      Also, if sex work was really freely-engaged work, OSHA would shut it down as it’s so dangerous to the “worker’s” health. Exposure to various body fluids, hazardous surroundings, frequent physical and psychological violence including risk brain injury and even death.

      • quixote says:

        There was a gallows-humor-hilarious article several years ago on what workers would be wearing to comply with European safety standards to do “sex work.” Picture a covid nurse in full PPE. It went through the regulations one by one to prove that there was no exaggeration.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Love all the black kitty illustrations!

    Trump and his goons better end up behind bars.

  7. NW Luna says: