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Eastman Memo author reverses his reversal on anti-election pitch

After describing his own memo's strategy as "crazy," John Eastman quietly said there's "no question" that he sees his memo's legal reasoning as sound.

By any fair measure, John Eastman has had a busy 12 months. As we've discussed, it was last fall when the Republican lawyer began working with Donald Trump — the then-president saw him on Fox News and was impressed — and as part of that work, Eastman filed the brief last December on Trump's behalf that asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 presidential election. (It was filled with factual errors — including an obvious one literally on the first page.)

Soon after, he authored what's become known as the Eastman Memo, which was effectively a blueprint Republican officials could follow to reject the results of the U.S. election and keep the losing candidate in power. The plan involved advising then-Vice President Mike Pence to set a process in motion that would allow congressional Republicans to overturn the election.

Eastman even spoke at the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally ahead of the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.

But nearly a year later, as the Eastman Memo becomes more scandalous, its author has decided to distance himself from his own bananas legal strategy. Eastman spoke last week to National Review, a conservative magazine, and argued that the memo that bears his name "does not accurately represent" his views.

...Eastman now tells National Review in an interview that the first of the two strategies Giuliani highlighted on stage — having Pence reject electoral votes — was not "viable" and would have been "crazy" to pursue.

Asked about his memo's assertion that the vice president was the "ultimate arbiter" of deciding whether to count Electoral College votes, Eastman added, "This is where I disagree. I don't think that's true."

As for the blueprint he sketched out after the election, the Republican lawyer went on to tell National Review, "[A]nybody who thinks that that's a viable strategy is crazy."

This was, to be sure, a deeply flawed response to the controversy Eastman created, but as Rachel noted on the show last week, it was heartening, at least to a degree, to see him back away from his own work. It suggested that Eastman recognized just how problematic it was to serve as the architect of a plan that, if implemented, could've paved the way for a coup.

In other words, facing calls for his disbarment, Eastman effectively told a conservative publication that he didn't stand by his own work in the Eastman Memo. There was, however, a slight problem:

Eastman may not have been entirely sincere in his comments to National Review.

Lauren Windsor is a progressive activist known for catching GOP officials saying provocative things as part of hidden-camera interviews. She'll approach important Republican figures, pretend to be an ally, make flattering comments, and then record her targets making candid comments.

As Rachel explained last night, Windsor caught up with Eastman the day after the National Review report was published, and with a little prodding, the conservative lawyer said his memo wasn't "crazy" at all.

In fact, Eastman boasted that there's "no question" his memo's legal reasoning was sound and that the only reason Pence and other Republicans didn't follow his blueprint is that they're members of a political "establishment," enjoying "cushy" lifestyles in D.C.

This is clearly not what the lawyer told National Review.

It's against this backdrop that The Washington Post reported overnight that the bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is now expected to subpoena Eastman.

The article added, "Eastman told The Washington Post last week that he had not been contacted by the panel investigating the insurrection, but a person familiar with the select committee's work disputed that claim and said investigators have been in touch with Eastman."

Watch this space.