Legal experts demand ethics investigation into Trump lawyer who proposed 'coup cloaked in legal language'

John Eastman, a Chapman University law professor, gestures while he speaks. Trump supporters are gathered ahead of his speech contesting the U.S. Congress' certification of the results from the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election in Washington, U.S.A, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
John Eastman is a senior fellow with the conservative Claremont Institute.

Before January 6, he had written memos in support of overturning 2020 election results.

Check out more stories from Insider's business page.

A bipartisan group consists of legal experts who have written to the California State Bar asking for an ethics investigation into the Trump administration's counsel on how to reverse the results of the 2020 elections.

Insider obtained a six-page memo from John Eastman, a senior fellow of The Claremont Institute. He argued that Vice President Mike Pence might unilaterally reject President Joe Biden's votes and secure a second term to former President Donald Trump. This was what Kermit Roosevelt, a constitutional law expert, called "a proposed coup cloaked with legal language."

Some believe that Eastman violated his professional obligations as an attorney by offering this advice to Trump's legal team.

"Lawyers, especially those who represent elected or appointed officials, have a solemn obligation to the public to advise them within the four corners law and to ensure they don't allow themselves to be the tools that those officials seek to undermine democracy governance," states a complaint by the States United Democracy Center. This non-partisan advocacy group for electoral integrity is a member of the United Democracy Center.

The complaint reveals that Eastman was "assisted Mr. Trump in his dangerous attempts to stop or disrupt the counting electoral votes" and encouraged former Vice President Pence to "violate his legal obligations."

Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican, was a member of the Bush cabinet. She said that the complaint was meant to ensure democracy prevails despite unprecedented disinformation and attempts at overturning a free and fair election.

Whitman stated in a statement that "it is crucial that policymakers as well as legal experts on both sides of this aisle stand up to fight against these antidemocratic actions taken John Eastman and other peers."

Continue the story

Eastman stated that the complaint was "politically motivated". He told Insider that he is looking forward to "responding fully" if the matter advances.

Do you have a tip for the reporter? Send a tip to the reporter at

Business Insider has the original article.