John Eastman claims attorney-client privilege over thousands of pages sought by Jan. 6 investigators

Eastman and House investigators are due in court Monday afternoon to update Carter on their progress.

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Eastman became a central player in developing Trump’s legal strategy to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally overturn the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021. Pence, who presided over a joint session of Congress that day required to finalize Joe Biden’s victory, ultimately refused to go along, despite pressure from Trump and his allies. But his decision inflamed a pro-Trump mob that had encircled the Capitol and preceded a violent breach that threatened the transfer of power.

The select committee has raised new alarms that Eastman is slow-walking or obfuscating their efforts to obtain critical documents related to this effort. In daily court filings, House Counsel Doug Letter has complained that Eastman’s privilege logs fail to provide enough insight into the documents he’s refusing to provide to give the committee an opportunity to issue informed challenges. Some letters written in a Friday court filing are vaguely labeled “legal arguments” or “proposal to consider.”

“The Select Committee’s urgent need for resolution of the privilege issues is heightened by the fact that Plaintiff has broadly claimed privileges over a vast swath of documents—many of which appear to be critical to the Select Committee’s investigation,” Letter wrote.

The House is specifically asking Eastman to furnish documents that would detail his attorney-client relationship with Trump or his presidential campaign in the closing weeks of 2020, as Trump’s bid to overturn the election grew increasingly desperate.

But Eastman said the court’s current process already accounted for these disputes, and he said the committee’s effort to speed it up appeared motivated by the dwindling congressional calendar.

“To the extent the congressional defendants’ claimed ‘urgent need for resolution of the privilege issues’ is motivated by the looming 2022 midterm election, this is not a valid reason to alter this Court’s January 26 order,” Eastman’s attorney wrote.

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