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Trump lawyer who pushed plan to overturn election sought presidential pardon, committee shows

A clip of John Eastman, left, is played during a hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in Washington.Doug Mills/NYT

John Eastman, who pushed the theory that former vice president Mike Pence could block the electoral count, asked former president Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani days after the insurrection if he could receive a pardon, according to evidence obtained by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

“I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” he wrote in an e-mail displayed during the hearing by the committee.

The committee also played video of Eastman invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to testify multiple times during questioning. Eastman invoked the Fifth 100 times, Representative Pete Aguilar, a committee member, said.


Eastman made the request to be put on the list of potential pardon recipients a few days after a Jan. 7 conversation with White House lawyer Eric Herschmann.

In a video released in advance by the committee, Herschmann said that in the call Eastman appeared to still have overturning the election on his mind.

“I said to him, ‘Are you out of your effing mind?’” Herschmann recounts in the testimony, adding that he demanded Eastman say the words “orderly transition.”

Herschmann also said that he advised Eastman, “Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer. You’re going to need it,” before hanging up on him.

Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.