(NEW YORK) — Former Trump election lawyer John Eastman took the stand once again during his disbarment hearing in California on Wednesday, where he disputed two former White House officials’ claims that Eastman said former Vice President Mike Pence could reject slates of electors during a meeting with Pence and former President Donald Trump on Jan. 4, 2021.
Eastman faces 11 disciplinary charges in the State Bar Court of California stemming from his “legal strategy” aimed at having Pence interfere with the certification of the 2020 election.
Eastman said he “does not recall” making a statement that Pence could reject electoral votes despite Greg Jacobs, counsel to Pence and Marc Short, former chief of staff to Pence, testifying that he did to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“I never said it was a viable option under the circumstances,” Eastman said.
“Given where we ended up on Jan. 4, I find it implausible that I would have made that statement,” he added.
Prosecutors presented several press releases and statements from election officials across the country that stated there was no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election. When asked if he had seen any of the press releases or statements, Eastman said he “did not recall” seeing most of them.
When asked about one report that stated there was no security breach of voting machines in Antrim County, Michigan, Eastman disputed the study and said “there’s no question that votes that were cast for Trump, were reported as cast for Biden.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors pressed Eastman about the memos he drafted for Trump to cling to power by falsely claiming Pence could reject legitimate electors during the 2020 presidential election.
Eastman was also asked about several emails he sent after the election, including some he sent to Trump attorneys Boris Epshteyn and Kenneth Chesebro.
One email prosecutors questioned Eastman about was an email he wrote in October 2020 about whether Pence had the authority to reject slates of electoral college electors in which Eastman wrote “I don’t agree with this.”
Eastman defended the email by saying he changed his position “after doing research.”
In one email shown by prosecutors, Eastman wrote “the risk of getting a court ruling that Pence has no authority to reject the Biden-certified ballots very high.”
“And danger that SCOTUS will decline to take as well,” Eastman wrote in the email to several individuals including to Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach in December 2020.
Eastman was also pressed by prosecutors about another email he sent saying the Trump campaign should avoid litigating around the Electoral Count Act and Pence’s authority on Jan 6.
When Duncan Carling, trial counsel for the California State Bar, pointed out that several election related cases in the key states Eastman had claimed there was evidence of illegality, were litigated and rejected in court, Eastman said there were significant dissents in several court cases.
Prosecutors also asked Eastman whether the so-called Trump electors met in seven states on Dec. 14, 2020 because of the “illegal actions” written in the memo Eastman authored.
“I never spoke to any of the electors so my connection there may have been a presumption,” Eastman replied. “They met because of pending litigation.”
Eastman will return to the stand on Thursday.
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