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Trump lawyer blamed Pence for causing Capitol attack: report

The Hill logo The Hill 10/31/2021 Lexi Lonas
Trump lawyer blamed Pence for causing Capitol attack: report © Associated Press / Susan Walsh Trump lawyer blamed Pence for causing Capitol attack: report

A lawyer for former President Trump sent an email to an aide for former Vice President Mike Pence during the Capitol attack, blaming Pence for the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

Attorney John Eastman, who worked closely with the former president, sent an email to Greg Jacob, a former aide for Pence, accusing Trump's No. 2 of causing the Capitol insurrection that lead to several deaths including that of Capitol Police officers.

Eastman alleged that Pence caused the violence on Jan. 6 because he did not block the certification of the electoral college votes while presiding over the Senate, a role for the sitting vice president that is largely ceremonial.

Trump had falsely claimed before the attack that Pence "has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," in a tweet.

"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 said in an email to Jacob, referring to allegations of widespread voter fraud.

The New York Times later confirmed the email from the Post by a person briefed on the contents of the exchange.

The email came while supporters of the former president ransacked the Capitol and Pence as well as his staff were in a secure area.

Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber after the rioters breached Capitol security. Footage from the day later revealed that the insurrectionists were chanting death threats against the former vice president.

The email from the former Trump lawyer came after Jacob sent an email to Eastman blaming the Capitol riot on Trump for continuously saying the election was "rigged."

"Thanks to your bull----, we are now under siege," Jacob said in an email. Jacob later apologized to Eastman for cursing in the email but stood by his comment.


Video: Mike Pence downplays January 6 Capitol attack (MSNBC)

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Trump and his allies have repeated that the 2020 presidential election was "rigged" and tainted by widespread voter fraud on account of the use of mail-in ballots. However, federal and state elections officials including Trump's former U.S. attorney general Bill Barr have said that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

At the time that Trump publicly stated that Pence had the option to block the results, Pence rejected these calls.

In an opinion article Jacob wrote about Trump's outside legal team obtained by the Post, he said Eastman's email showed "a shocking lack of awareness of how those practical implications were playing out in real time."

Jacob's op-ed was never published.

Jacob said the outside lawyers "spun a web of lies and disinformation" to try to force Pence to object to the election results.

"Now that the moment of immediate crisis has passed, the legal profession should dispassionately examine whether the attorneys involved should be disciplined for using their credentials to sell a stream of snake oil to the most powerful office in the world, wrapped in the guise of a lawyer's advice," Jacob said in the op-ed, according to the Post.

Eastman confirmed the email exchange to the Post, but added that Trump and his team had every right to exhaust their legal options.

"Are you supposed to not do anything about that?" Eastman asked the paper.

In his op-ed obtained by the paper, Jacob also alleged that a lawyer for Trump was present at a Jan. 5 meeting no one on the U.S. Supreme Court would support Pence rejecting the election results.

Sources interviewed by the Post with knowledge of the discussions said that by the end of the meeting, Eastman conceded that having the vice president reject the results was not a good plan.

Eastman denied made concessions about Pence's role overseeing the Senate. He also denied that he encouraged the plan for Pence to reject the results. He said the claim was, "distorting the conversation, which depends heavily on what scenario was being discussed," according to the Post.

The Hill has reached out to Pence's spokesperson and Trump's spokesperson for comment.

Updated 10:03 p.m.

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