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Who is John Eastman? What we know about the attorney behind Trump’s legal strategies for Jan. 6

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer, played an important role in the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement

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A video showing attorney John Eastman is displayed on a screen.

A video showing attorney John Eastman is displayed on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.

Tom Brenner, Pool Photo via Associated Press

As the Jan. 6 public hearings continue, many have heard the name John Eastman referenced, even though he is unlikely to testify in front of the House committee.

Per Politico, Eastman, a conservative lawyer, played an important role in the “Stop the Steal” movement by focusing former President Donald Trump’s legal strategy on pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.

What was Eastman’s role on Jan. 6? “All we are demanding of Vice President (Mike) Pence is this afternoon at 1 o’ clock, he let the legislatures of the states look into this, so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not!” Eastman yelled into the microphone on the day of the riots at the U.S. Capitol, according to the Los Angeles Times.

During the third day of the hearings, the committee played a video where former Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann recounted a conversation with Eastman regarding Pence overturning the election.

“I said, ‘You’re completely crazy,’” Herschmann said, per CNN. “I said, ‘You’re going to turn around and tell 78 million people in this country that your theory is this is how you’re going to invalidate their votes. Because you think the election was stolen.’”

What is Eastman’s background? Eastman, 62, first emerged as a Trump-associated lawyer “when he filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to let Trump intervene in a longshot lawsuit to toss out election results in four swing states won by Joe Biden, which ultimately failed,” reported Forbes writer Joe Walsh.

With a bachelor’s degree in politics, a law degree and a doctorate in government, Eastman previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Soon after, he started his 21-year-long teaching career at Chapman University, where he headed the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank, and founded the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a law firm for conservative clients, according to the Times.

He has since resigned from Chapman University.