On Tuesday, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article about Attorney John Eastman. Attorney Eastman has an impressive record as an attorney. He is the founding director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the conservative think tank Claremont Institute. He is a former professor and dean at the Chapman University School of Law. He is also a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
His phone was recently seized by the FBI as he was leaving a restaurant. He was not shown a warrant for the seizure until after his phone was taken.
On Monday, The Washington Times reported:
Eastman said the agents who approached him identified themselves as from the FBI but appeared to be serving a warrant on behalf of the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which he contends has no jurisdiction to investigate him since he has never worked for the department. He said the cell phone that was seized contains emails that have been the subject of a months-long dispute between him and the House panel.
“That litigation has received extensive media attention, so it is hard to imagine that the Department of Justice, which apparently submitted the application for the warrant at issue here, was not aware of it,” wrote his lawyers, Charles Burnham and Joseph Gribble.
There is little doubt that Attorney Eastman’s phone was seized because of his work on behalf of President Trump to investigate election fraud.
The article at Power Line Blog concludes:
The AP covers the story here. Orin Kerr takes up the legality of the search and seizure in a Twitter thread here. We remain to be illuminated on the criminal law for which the FBI claims it has probable cause against Eastman. Late in the thread he notes that the warrant does not extend beyond the seizure of John’s phone (i.e., it covers seizure only).
Eastman’s close encounter with the FBI last week was obviously coordinated with the close encounters of Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark and Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald. The FBI appears to have taken up the role of the ruling party’s enforcement arm.
We are rapidly approaching banana-republic status if we have not reached it already.