According to legal experts, the right-wing Claremont Institute made a false statement regarding one of its professors’ attempts to reverse Donald Trump’s election defeat.
Senior fellow John Eastman drafted a legal memo arguing that then-vice president Mike Pence had the authority to reject electors from certain states where Trump had lost, claiming that this would allow Republican-led state legislatures to appoint their own slates, and the think tank twisted the reporting on that leaked document.
“Contrary to almost universally false news accounts, which have done great damage, John did not ask the Vice President, who was presiding over the Joint Session of Congress where electoral votes were to be counted on January 6, to “overturn” the election or to decide the validity of electoral votes,” the institute said in a statement. “John advised the Vice President to accede to requests from state legislators to pause the proceedings of the Joint Session of Congress for 7 to 10 days, to give time to the state legislatures to assess whether the acknowledged illegal conduct by their state election officials had affected the results of the election.”
“If the state legislatures had found sufficient illegal conduct to have altered the results, and as a result submitted a second slate of electors, John advised the Vice President that, despite credible legal arguments to the contrary, the Vice President should regard Congress, not the Vice President, as having the authority to choose between the two slates,” the statement added.
Steve Vladeck, a professor of national security law at the University of Texas School of Law, accused the think group of misrepresenting – and therefore justifying – what Eastman asked Pence to do.
“The @ClaremontInst is attempting to whitewash John Eastman’s ‘how to coup in six easy steps’ memo by blatantly misrepresenting what Eastman actually wrote,” Vladeck tweeted. “Among other things, Eastman falsely claimed there were dueling slates of electors *and* that Pence *could* act unilaterally.”
“They speak for themselves,” Vladeck added, linking to the documents, “despite Claremont’s transparent and bad-faith attempt to rewrite history.”
The @ClaremontInst is attempting to whitewash John Eastman’s “how to coup in six easy steps” memo by blatantly misrepresenting what Eastman actually wrote. Among other things, Eastman falsely claimed there were dueling slates of electors *and* that Pence *could* act unilaterally. pic.twitter.com/swQRnVqbvt
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) October 11, 2021
Other experts chimed in to back Vladeck up.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW...
Claremont Institute Admits Trump and Eastman Plotted Coup, and That Doing So Was Wrong
They didn't use those exact words, but that's what this conveys. Instead of claiming it was good, they're lying about it in obvious ways, indicating they know it's something to be ashamed of. https://t.co/FGm8cbeALw
— Nicholas Grossman (@NGrossman81) October 11, 2021
This post from @steve_vladeck needs amplification. The Eastman memo is a sinister attack on democracy. The only disinformation campaign is the one in which Eastman participated. https://t.co/L8S9rkBUJl
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) October 11, 2021
Eastman’s scheme was for Pence to unilaterally delay Biden’s certification to buy time to pressure state legislatures to send dueling pro-Trump slates (which didn’t exist on January 6th).
It was, in fact, a plan for Republican partisans to overturn the election. https://t.co/7zWQobzGbs
— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) October 11, 2021
Real fascism isn't just trying to seize power, it's lying to you that the power grab you saw didn't happen. Pic 1 is what the Claremont Institute says John Eastman was advocating. Pic 2 is what he was actually advocating. https://t.co/VcSeb1teaW pic.twitter.com/fUyuoW8XGT
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) October 11, 2021
Post-Jan. 6, Eastman has publicly taken the position that CI describes as his pre-Jan. 6 legal advice. Eg: In his podcast with Larry Lessig, Eastman explicitly says, “The VP does not have this power.”
Perhaps that should have appeared in his memo. https://t.co/s0V5PQobHm
— Connor Ewing (@ConnorMEwing) October 11, 2021
In regards to the election, The Washington Post is reporting that Senator Lindsey Graham agreed to hold a hearing with Rudolph Giuliani.
The South Carolina Republican met with Giuliani and his legal team on Jan. 2 in a meeting arranged by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and conducted in his West Wing office to learn about findings that they said may give Trump a second term.
At the time, Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, presented a computer wiz who provided a mathematical calculation implying that Biden’s support in specific areas was impossible. The rationale was too abstract for Graham, a lawyer and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He was looking for concrete evidence. At the Saturday meeting, Graham stated, “Give me some names.” “You need to write it down. You must present the facts to me.”
Giuliani promised more information by Monday, including proof that thousands of ballots were cast in the names of dead persons and minors, among other problems.
In a new book, Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political writer Robert Costa remember this scene. As the senators prepared to declare Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, the book “Peril” chronicles simultaneous efforts by the South Carolina Republican and his conservative colleague from Utah, Sen. Mike Lee, to personally examine the president’s charges of voter fraud.
Graham and Lee, who both voted to certify the results in the end, took the allegations of election fraud seriously enough to get informed on the details, consult their top staff, and contact state officials around the country. According to the book, Graham gave the arguments a scathing review in private, stating they were only appropriate for “third grade.”
The story demonstrates how vehemently the president’s legal team tried to overturn the election results; how thin even their more serious accusations were; and how little faith the president’s own allies had in his objections, even as they remained firm behind him.
On Jan. 4, Giuliani delivered his promised proof in the form of multiple memoranda to Graham, one of which was headlined “Voting Irregularities, Impossibilities, and Illegalities in the 2020 General Election.”
Graham has already demonstrated his willingness to act on allegations of election fraud, called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in November to see whether he might discard postal votes in counties with high rates of nonmatching signatures, as Raffensperger later explained. Graham insisted that all he wanted to know was about the state’s signature-matching criteria.
Giuliani’s memoranda contained broad statements with no supporting facts or references. One claimed that Pennsylvania had processed 682,777 mail-in ballots without sufficient scrutiny, which was the basis of a lawsuit dismissed by a federal judge two months ago.
The letter suggested that if you subtract only this number, President Trump wins the state by hundreds of thousands. Based on a thorough investigation of “mail-in and absentee ballot voter names and obituaries,” another alleged that hundreds of dead persons had voted in Georgia.
Graham sent his driver to deliver the documents to the Judiciary Committee’s top lawyer. According to the narrative in “Peril,” the lawyer, Lee Holmes, was unimpressed.
He couldn’t identify what kind of records had been utilized to conduct the analysis, which he didn’t believe showed anything decisively. According to the book, Holmes thought it was much more possible, based on Giuliani’s own evidence, that some people had voted and subsequently died, than the more extreme allegations, such as ballots from the deceased.
Theories concerning people voting twice, invalid absentee ballot applications, and fraudulent ballots cast from vacant or nonexistent addresses did not persuade him. According to the account in “Peril,” “Holmes could uncover no public data that would even allow someone to reach these conclusions.”
He found records that contradicted Giuliani’s conclusions everywhere he could find them. Claims of over 12,000 so-called “overvotes” in Arizona — when someone chooses more than the maximum number of choices permitted — obscured the fact that only 180 people applied for the presidential race, far too few to cut Biden’s victory margin in the state.
According to the documents released by Giuliani, the case that “Georgia’s 2020 election is in doubt and should be nullified” was spelled out in a “Executive summary” of “Independent research undertaken by experienced CPAs and Ivy League statisticians.”
The experts remained anonymous, but their alleged investigation — correlating data for 7.6 million registered voters with postal records — struck Holmes as impractical or, at best, inconclusive, because it would require matching millions of registered voters with data from the United States Postal Service.