President Donald Trump could hire a law professor who spoke at his pre-riot rally at the U.S. Capitol to help defend him in an impeachment trial for inciting violence, two say people familiar with the matter.
John Eastman, who joined Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on stage at the Jan.6 rally, is being considered for a role on Trump’s defense team, people said.
Giuliani, 76, who told the crowd they should engage in a “fight trial”, could lead the impeachment defense, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing a source. Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.
Eastman, 60, who made unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud at the rally, has neither confirmed nor denied whether he will represent Trump, citing attorney-client privilege.
Asked about his will, Eastman said, “If the President of the United States asked me to consider helping him, I would definitely give him a consideration.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Eastman and declined to comment on Giuliani.
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday made Trump the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, accusing him of inciting insurgency as lawmakers sought to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden in the November 3 elections.
A former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Eastman represented Trump last month in unsuccessful election challenges.
At the rally, Eastman, who until Wednesday was a professor at Chapman University in California, spoke of “secret files” of ballots used to defraud the election before Trump took the stage and repeated the claim discredited that the election was stolen from him.
Faculty members and students, among others, subsequently called on Chapman to fire Eastman. In a statement Wednesday, the university president said an agreement had been reached under which Eastman would immediately withdraw from Chapman.
Eastman told Reuters he didn’t think he did anything wrong. He also doesn’t think Trump is guilty. “None at all,” he says.
Eastman was criticized last summer for an op-ed he wrote in Newsweek questioning whether Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was eligible because her parents were neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents.
Newsweek later apologized for posting the article.
Trump might have a hard time retaining legal talent. He has struggled to hire lawyers since former special adviser Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and widespread condemnation of violence on Capitol Hill and pressure from groups anti-Trump may discourage others from signing up.
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House in 2019 for pressuring the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into his rival Biden, but was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate in February 2020.
Giuliani’s own pressure on Ukraine contributed to Trump’s impeachment trial.
White House attorney Pat Cipollone, who helped lead the defense effort during Ukraine’s impeachment, is not expected to be part of the latest effort, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cipollone will step down on January 20, when Biden becomes president.
Jay Sekulow, another Trump personal lawyer who played a role in the first indictment, is also not expected to be involved.
John Yoo, a conservative lawyer who was also a clerk for Thomas and worked in the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration, said Wednesday he didn’t think Trump would want him to represent him.
“I think he has done wrongdoing,” Yoo said, adding that he thought the incitement was the wrong motive and “the Senate should not condemn him.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)