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Trump lawyer offered six-point plan for Pence to overturn election: book

The Hill logo The Hill 9/21/2021 Cameron Jenkins
Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie: Trump lawyer offered six-point plan for Pence to overturn election: book © Getty Images Trump lawyer offered six-point plan for Pence to overturn election: book

An attorney who worked with former President Trump's legal team tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence that he could overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and provided him with a six-step plan, according to a new book from journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

CNN, citing a memo initially obtained by the book's authors, reported that attorney John Eastman first proposed the plan to Pence on Jan. 4 in the Oval Office with Trump. The memo called for throwing out the election results in seven states under the false claim that those states had used alternate electors.

The conservative lawyer also reportedly proposed that Pence could declare Trump the winner of the election after the votes were disposed of.

In the book "Peril," which is being released on Tuesday, Woodward and Costa write that Eastman's memo was sent to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), who served as one of Trump's attorneys at the time, tried to convince Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that there was rampant fraud in the 2020 election.

Both Graham and Lee reportedly argued that the fraud claims had no merit.

"You might as well make your case to Queen Elizabeth II. Congress can't do this. You're wasting your time," Lee told Trump's lawyers, according to the book, CNN reported.

The Hill has reached out to Lee's and Graham's offices for comment, in addition to seeking comment from Eastman.

CNN reported that Eastman told The Washington Post that his two-page memo "explored all options that had been proposed."

Further details of Eastman's plan reportedly included an argument that Pence could deny that either candidate had reached 270 votes in the Electoral College if Democratic lawmakers started to oppose efforts to overturn the election. In that scenario, according to Eastman's plan, the House would then decide the election. Since Republicans controlled 26 state delegations at the time, a majority vote for Trump would have won him the election, Eastman proposed, according to the authors.

"You really need to listen to John," Trump told Pence of the plan, according to the book. "He's a respected constitutional scholar. Hear him out."

Eastman also reportedly suggested that Pence should take action without providing a warning to Congress.

"The main thing here is that Pence should do this without asking for permission - either from a vote of the joint session or from the Court," Eastman wrote in the memo, according to CNN. "The fact is that the Constitution assigns this power to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter. We should take all of our actions with that in mind."

Eastman's memo could become a point of interest to the House committee that is investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, CNN noted.

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