A strategic delay in play and the bell tolls for thee, John Eastman
It is not completely clear why the Jan. 6 committee has opted to delay—temporarily—a request for some of the records from the Trump White House that are pertinent to its investigation, but by pumping the brakes for now, the committee could be positioning itself to fight smarter, not harder.
First reported by Politico on Wednesday, committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, said that while the investigatory body is “in a hurry” to review critical information, they also “don’t want to get hung up” as the probe labors on.
White House counsel Dana Remus has already informed National Archivist David Ferriero that President Joe Biden would not claim executive privilege over the documents since doing so, he said, failed to be “in the best interests of the United States.”
Former President Donald Trump tried his hand at asserting executive privilege over dozens of records and as he is known to do, turned to the courts to obstruct oversight of his activities. The lawsuit, filed at the D.C. District Court, claims the Biden White House’s refusal to shroud the records in executive privilege was just part and parcel of Democrats “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition.”
Common to the former president as that response may be, to his credit, his team quite shockingly did not use the term “witch hunt” once in that lawsuit.
Digressions aside, for the last few weeks the National Archives has been busy processing at least three troves of records related to Trump’s tumultuous time in office and is expected to remit its findings to the committee by Nov. 12.
The only way the National Archives would not hand those documents over is if the court intervenes to uphold Trump’s request.
As to the committee’s delay on Wednesday to postpone its request records, Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, told Politico only that the decision was “routine” to the back-and-forth of two branches of government when it comes to highly important and sensitive matters.
Tim Mulvey, the Jan. 6 committee spokesperson, emphasized in a statement Wednesday that the committee has in no way withdrawn its request and the decision to defer will not stop the panel’s pursuit of gaining access “to all the information relevant” to the probe.
Meanwhile, the bell is apparently tolling for John Eastman. The Washington Post was first to report that a subpoena is imminent for the onetime law professor and author of a now-notorious memo that, in a nutshell, offered a strategy for how Trump could remain in power and overturn the 2020 election results despite the fact that they were overwhelmingly in favor of Joe Biden.
Eastman’s subpoena is likely to request his correspondence about the memo as well as any documentation or communication he has regarding meetings at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. in the run up to the putsch on the Capitol.
Eastman’s memo, according to The Washington Post, “served as the basis” for a Jan. 4 meeting with Trump, the one-time law professor, and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
The conservative Claremont Institute board member has publicly waffled about the intent behind the memo. Depending on who in the media asks him, Eastman has dubbed it as unviable fluff or part of something that Republicans in Washington, D.C.—or “beltway Republicans”—wouldn’t understand.
When reached for comment by Daily Kos on Wednesday, an aide to the Jan. 6 committee said Eastman has long been on the committee’s radar.
“Mr. Eastman advised the former President and others about the transition of power and the counting of the electoral votes. Our earliest record requests sought information about his role and he is a witness the Select Committee would like to hear from. Mr. Eastman has engaged with the Select Committee and has the opportunity to cooperate voluntarily, but we will use the tools at our disposal to get any information we believe is relevant to our investigation,” the aide said.