Legal experts and other commentators say John Eastman didn’t do himself any favors going on Fox News.
The former Donald Trump attorney, a co-defendant in the ex-president’s sprawling Georgia racketeering indictment, spoke with Laura Ingraham in a two-part interview that aired Tuesday and Wednesday.
He persistently repeated the lie that the 2020 election was rife with fraud, prompting even Ingraham, a staunch Trump defender, to call him out.
Eastman is accused of designing a scheme to establish a slate of fake electors to falsely certify that Trump won the 2020 election and pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence during a Jan. 4, 2021, meeting to “either reject electoral votes from certain states or delay the joint session of Congress on January 6” in order to allow certain state legislatures to illegally appoint electors favoring Trump.
Eastman acknowledged both options violated the law, according to the indictment.
In Wednesday’s installment of the interview, Eastman said he had asked Pence during that meeting to delay the certification of votes, but insisted he didn’t tell Pence to reject the votes.
“What I recommended, and I’ve said this repeatedly, is that he accede to request from more than 100 state legislators in their swing states to give them a week to try and sort out the impact of what everybody acknowledged was illegality in the conduct of the election,” he said.
“I don’t think everyone acknowledged it,” Ingraham noted.
For the record, Pence has said Trump and his “crackpot lawyers” asked him to “literally reject votes.”
Legal commentators said Eastman’s TV appearance was not a wise choice.
“He actually seems to believe all of this crap, and I don’t think that he actually understands the fact that he keeps digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself,” Tristan Snell, a former New York state prosecutor, said on MSNBC.
“He wanted to plead the Fifth when he had that deposition but every time he speaks in public he’s basically inculpating himself,” he continued.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Bradley P. Moss, a national security attorney, said Eastman “literally just confessed to the crime” on Fox News.
Conservative attorney George Conway shared a “pro legal tip” for Eastman: “If you’ve been indicted for doing something, don’t talk about that something on TV.”
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, noted that Eastman had lost even Ingraham, who went along with Trump’s lie after the 2020 election.
(Fox News has restrained its coverage of the issue after two voting systems companies sued for billions in damages over the right-wing network’s promotion of falsehoods about the election. It settled one of them, with Dominion Voting Systems, for $787.5 million in April.)
Criminal defense attorney Sara Spector pointed out how Eastman’s argument wasn’t helping his cause:
Law experts aside, critics and other pundits also had a lot to say about the interview. Here’s some of the chatter: