Donald Trump campaign attorney John Eastman, who authored a plan for then-vice President Mike Pence to declare the Electoral College votes for Trump on January 6, pleaded the fifth amendment to the select committee investigating the deadly attack on the US Capitol that day, saying that anything he says could lead to criminal prosecution, Politico reports.
“As explained below, Dr. Eastman has faced suggestions from multiple sources that he should be criminally investigated for his service as an adviser to former President Trump,” Eastman’s lawyer Charles Burnham wrote in a letter Committee to Rep Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the Jan 6 Committee.
“Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him,” Burnham added in the letter before complaining that the Committee lacks a “ranking minority member,” even though that came after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled his members when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to seat Reps Jim Banks and Jim Jordan on the panel.
Last month, Eastman was filmed slamming Republicans who upheld the 2020 election results as “spineless,” and lashed out at Mike Pence for refusing to go along with Trump’s attempt to certify the results.
Eastman also spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington that preceded the violent riot on the US Capitol. At the rally, Eastman appeared onstage next to Rudy Giuliani, saying, “We know there was fraud” and “dead people voted” in the 2020 presidential election. Voting machines contained a “secret folder” of ballots, challenging the “very essence of our republican form of government,” he said.
Eastman urged Vice President Pence to delay that day’s Electoral College certification vote as Giuliani called for “trial by combat.”