John Eastman's face next to a gavel
Molly Butler / Media Matters

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Trump allies call for retaliation in response to Trump lawyer John Eastman's disbarment recommendation

Jack Posobiec: “This isn't happening at random, it's a deliberate agenda. And the Left is cheering it on. Conservatives need to wake up. The only way out of this is reciprocity.”

Trump lawyer and Claremont Institute senior fellow John Eastman is facing possible disbarment for his role in advising former President Donald Trump and his team to use fringe legal theories as they plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.  After a California judge formally recommended Eastman’s disbarment and forwarded his case to the state’s Supreme Court, right-wing media have rushed to Eastman's defense, arguing that Eastman is being unfairly targeted for his legal theories and calling for Republicans to retaliate against supposed liberal boogeymen.

  • Trump lawyer and election denialist John Eastman’s law license is in jeopardy after he participated in the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election

    • A California State Bar judge formally recommended Eastman for disbarment because of his relentless campaign to keep Trump in power after he had lost the 2020 presidential election. The California Supreme Court will now decide on the fate of Eastman’s law license. “Eastman's wrongdoing constitutes exceptionally serious ethical violations warranting severe professional discipline,” Judge Yvette Roland wrote in her decision. “Eastman made multiple patently false and misleading statements in court filings, in public remarks heard by countless Americans and to others regarding the conduct of the 2020 presidential election and Vice President Pence's authority to refuse to count or delay counting properly certified slates of electoral votes on January 6, 2021.” [NPR, 3/27/24]
    • Eastman has cited debunked election fraud conspiracy theories and fringe legal doctrines to justify his role in the Trump team’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Right-wing media downplayed Eastman’s comments to a Claremont Institute colleague in which he claimed that the Declaration of Independence gives people the “duty to alter or abolish the existing government” in cases of “intolerable” abuse. He added, “So that’s the question. Have the abuses and the threat of abuses become so intolerable that we have to be willing to push back?” [Media Matters, 8/9/23]
    • The States United Democracy Center argued that Eastman should be disbarred since he knew there was no basis or credibility to his legal theories to overturn the 2020 election. The organization described the California Bar’s case as substantive, writing, “The evidence presented over 35 days of trial, including testimony from 23 witnesses and more than 400 exhibits, makes clear that Eastman’s plan had no compelling legal or factual support and that he is culpable of all charges.” [States United Democracy Center, 12/4/23]
  • Right-wing media personalities have called for retaliation against liberal boogeymen if Eastman is held accountable for his actions during the 2020 election

    • Trump insider Mike Davis questioned whether liberal attorneys should also face disbarment for “their ‘fringe legal effort’ to disqualify Trump” from being able to run in the 2024 presidential election. [Twitter/X, 3/27/24]
    • In response to another Davis post defending Eastman, Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich seemingly chided Republicans for not using “state power to retaliate.” Cernovich stated: “The left knows there won’t be retaliation. Conservatives are 'too principled' for that. They don’t do tit-for-tat. Too busy playing fake Christians as they insider trade, bang interns, and stay out late getting drunk. Using state power to retaliate? That’s a huge sin!” [Twitter/X, 3/28/24, Twitter/X, 3/28/24]
    • White supremacist conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec called Eastman’s possible disbarment “a deliberate agenda” and said the only logical response is “reciprocity.” “Look what they are doing to John Eastman. This isn't happening at random, it's a deliberate agenda,” Posobiec wrote. “And the Left is cheering it on. Conservatives need to wake up. The only way out of this is reciprocity.” [Twitter/X, 3/28/24]
    • Right-wing podcast host Julie Kelly posted a “partial list of individuals who should be disbarred for attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election.” Kelly’s list name-checked a number of supposed liberal boogeymen, including election lawyers, former Department of Justice and FBI personnel, and even a sitting member of Congress — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). [Twitter/X, 3/28/24]
  • Right-wing media personalities also defended Eastman’s character and downplayed his role in undermining the 2020 election

    • The Gateway Pundit called Roland’s ruling “Part of the One-Party Marxist Takeover.” The article claimed, “Only Democrats can challenge election results in America today.” [The Gateway Pundit, 3/28/24]
    • Right-wing legal activist Paul Ingrassia claimed that Eastman “faithfully upheld the rule of law and stood for the integrity of the electoral and constitutional process." Ingrassia also praised Eastman, calling him “an extraordinary legal mind and perhaps the foremost original thinker in the conservative legal movement.” [Twitter/X, 3/27/24]
    • Right-wing legal activist and Trump ally Jeff Clark praised Eastman as “honorable, decent, wise” and dismissed Roland’s ruling as an “affront to justice in America.” At the end of his post, Clark linked his followers to a fundraising page for Eastman’s legal defense. Like Eastman, Clark has also come under legal fire for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. [Twitter/X, 3/27/24; The Associated Press, 3/26/24
    • Davis called it “dangerous” to “punish an attorney for advancing a ‘fringe legal argument’” and compared Eastman’s anti-democratic legal theories to Thurgood Marshall’s push for civil rights. Davis ignored Eastman’s deliberate lies and noted that Marshall “argued courts should ignore the Supreme Court’s controlling preceding of 50+ years. He didn’t get disbarred. He got put on the Supreme Court. After winning Brown v. Board.” [Twitter/X, 3/28/24]
    • Kelly claimed that the disbarment proceedings aren’t about Eastman or his behavior, they are about “sending a message: if you dare dispute 2024 rigged outcome, you’ll pay with your livelihood.” [Twitter/X, 3/27/24]
    • Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton claimed that Eastman has been “unconscionably victimized” and that his potential disbarment “undermines the rule of law and every American's right to counsel.” Fitton also alleged, “The Regime's new rules are that lawyers will be punished and disbarred for not agreeing with Left Democrat talking points on election disputes and constitutional law.” [Twitter/X, 3/27/24]