(The Hill) — John Eastman, a lawyer and an adviser to former Pres. Donald Trump, said in an email exchange shortly after the 2020 presidential election that four Supreme Court justices were in a “heated fight” over whether to take up a case involving poll results in Wisconsin, according to a report in the New York Times.
Two people familiar with the emails told the outlet that Eastman described the discussions between the Supreme Court justices as “heated” while the Trump campaign deliberated on bringing another election case to the court. The emails came after the Supreme Court had already rejected two of Trump’s election fraud cases.
Eastman was exchanging emails with pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, who backed Trump’s false claims of election fraud. In one exchange, Chesebro said that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”
“I don’t have the personal insight that John has into the four justices likely to be most upset about what is happening in the various states, who might want to intervene, so I should make it clear that I don’t discount John’s estimate,” Chesebro said in an email, according to the Times.
“I think the odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way,” Chesebro said. “Though that factor could go against us on the merits. Easiest way to quell chaos would be to rule against us—our side would accept that result as legitimate.”
Eastman also had email exchanges with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Eastman previously served as a clerk for Justice Thomas. The content and timing of the emails with Ginni Thomas were not clear. The existence of the emails between Eastman and Ginni Thomas was first reported by The Washington Post.
In the exchanges with Chesebro, Eastman argued that giving the justices a cert petition from Wisconsin, one of the states Trump claimed he lost because of election fraud, could help aid them in their discussions. “So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,” Eastman said in the email, sources told The Times.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot is looking at the emails as well as examining texts between Ginni Thomas and Eastman. Along with the Eastman messages, Ginni Thomas was encouraging electors in Arizona to reject the results of the 2020 election in that state.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the select committee, said Thursday in an appearance on CNN that he could not yet explain why the committee has subpoenaed Ginni Thomas, adding he “can’t talk about specific witnesses like that.” The Hill has reached out to Ginni Thomas, Eastman’s lawyer, the Jan. 6 committee, and the Supreme Court for comment.