Newly Released Emails Show Blatant Attempt By Pa. Lawmakers and Trump Lawyer to Subvert Democracy

FILE - Chapman School of Law professor John Eastman testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 16, 2017, at a House Justice subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet hearing on restructuring the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The State Bar of California says it is investigating Eastman, a lawyer for former President Donald Trump, for possibly breaking legal and ethical rules relating to the 2020 election. John Eastman is the former dean of the Chapman University law school in Southern California. He argued after the November 2020 election that former Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the election and keep Trump in power. Pence refused to do that and Trump left office. But since then, Eastman has been subpoenaed by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

By Ashley Adams

May 12, 2022

In an email exchange from December 2020, attorney John Eastman and Rep. Russ Diamond planned to throw out tens of thousands of ballots, recount the votes, and give Trump the win in Pennsylvania.

The month after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, one of his lawyers urged a Pennsylvania state representative to throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots and recount the votes in order to show Trump with a lead, according to a new report from Politico.

The story highlights attorney John Eastman’s email exchange with state Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) as yet another example of Trump’s relentless efforts to subvert democracy in 2020. The communication was part of a large batch of emails obtained by the Colorado Ethics Institute and given to the US House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

Eastman, who represented Trump after the election, advised Diamond to throw out absentee ballots, recount the votes, and use the new totals to “provide some cover” for Republican lawmakers to appoint their own pro-Trump electors. 

There were dozens of pages of email communication between Eastman and Diamond in which Eastman offers edits to legislative resolutions, reviews communications, and suggests tactics GOP lawmakers in the commonwealth could take to seat an alternate set of electors. 

In an email where Diamond introduced House Republican Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) to Eastman, Diamond wrote “Kerry, Dr. Eastman is responsible for opening my eyes to our ability to exercise our plenary authority to decertify presidential electors (without ANY ‘evidence’ of retail ‘voter fraud’)…”

Diamond was one of the pro-Trump Pennsylvania lawmakers who pushed for the state’s results to be decertified. In an email to Politico, when asked about Eastman, Diamond described him as “one of many individuals I interacted with in the aftermath of the 2020 General Election.” Diamond said he did not know if Eastman was in contact with any other Pennsylvania lawmakers.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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