A day after the riot at the US Capitol, a White House lawyer advised an ally of former President Donald Trump to obtain a defense lawyer in connection with helping the Republican try to overturn the 2020 election results.
The revelation is among the evidence the House panel investigating the riot will present at Thursday’s hearing, which investigators said is focused on Trump’s “relentless efforts” to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral results.
Select committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney shared a videotaped preview of the third hearing Tuesday afternoon after officials announced they would push back the session, which was originally slated for Wednesday.
The Congresswoman said the committee would show that Trump plotted with lawyer John Eastman “and others” to overturn the outcome of the election on Jan. 6, 2021.
In the recorded message, Cheney introduced a clip of former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann recounting a profanity-laced exchange he had with Eastman on Jan. 7, which abruptly ended with the government attorney issuing a grave warning to the president’s cohort.
“[Eastman] started to ask me about something dealing with Georgia and preserving something potentially for appeal, and I said to him ‘are you out of your f–king mind?,’ ” Herschmann told the panel.
“I said ‘I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: orderly transition.’ I said ‘I don’t want to hear any other f–king words coming out of your mouth no matter what, other than orderly transition,’ ” he continued.
“Eventually he said ‘orderly transition.’ I said ‘good John. Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life: get a great f–king criminal defense lawyer, you’re going to need it.’ And then I hung up on him.”
Investigators allege Eastman was the “architect” of Trump’s campaign to discredit the results of the election, even after the administration’s dozens of legal challenges in seven states were shot down.
As members of the violent mob that stormed the Capitol called for the vice president to be executed, Eastman and Pence’s staff exchanged heated emails, documents released by the panel show.
“Thanks to your bulls–t, we are now under siege,” Pence counsel Greg Jacob emailed Eastman, according to investigators.
“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman replied.
Former acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen, Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and Justice Department official Steve Engel are also scheduled to testify about Trump’s efforts to coerce officials into supporting his false claims of fraud Thursday.
“The select committee will examine President Trump’s relentless efforts, on January 6 and on the days beforehand, to pressure Vice President Pence to refuse to count lawful electoral votes,” Cheney announced in the message.
“As a federal judge has indicated, this likely violated two federal criminal statutes,” she continued.
With AP wires