John Eastman, a lawyer who was working with President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, took a moment to scold the vice president's team while the US Capitol was being attacked. Greg Jacob, Mike Pence's chief counsel, had already emailed Eastman that a siege was taking place, the Washington Post reports. "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 that the American people can see for themselves what happened," Eastman wrote back, trying to get Pence to refuse to certify the election results in the name of voter fraud.
At that time on Jan. 6, Pence, Jacob, and others were being guarded in a secure area of the building as rioters ran through the Capitol, some calling for Pence to be hanged. In an unpublished opinion piece Jacob wrote later that month, he said Eastman "displayed a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time." Jacob said Pence's team had been on the receiving end of "a barrage of bankrupt legal theories." In addition to being a legal adviser to Trump, Eastman was a law professor at California's Chapman University. The school announced his retirement a week after the riot.
Days before the Capitol was overrun, Eastman said on Steve Bannon's radio show that Pence had the power to kick the election to the House. Eastman said the only question, per CNN, was whether Pence had the "courage and the spine." Eastman stated his case to Pence, who was not persuaded, and Trump two days later. On Jan. 6, Eastman spoke to the rally outside the White House before the mob marched on the Capitol. Eastman told the Post he did write the emails to Jacob. He said Trump had a right to use "every legal means" to challenge the election, which Eastman said was rife with fraud and irregularities. He told CNN that pushing the vote to the House was just "one of the scenarios" and that he didn't advise it. (Read more Mike Pence stories.)