Now that the January 6th Committee has just obtained new John Eastman emails that further incriminate Donald Trump, it could hold another hearing before the election. Or they could just put it into their final report and release it just before the election. But I’m more interested in Eastman and the DOJ.
Remember, the DOJ seized Eastman’s phone with a warrant several months ago – and the only reason we even heard about it was that Eastman ran complaining to the media. We’ve since heard very little, but as the DOJ periodically pops up and reminds us with its actions, a lack of leaks is not a lack of progress. Eastman is clearly under active DOJ grand jury criminal investigation, and has been for some time. In that kind of probe, we don’t hear about most of the moves that are being made.
Did the DOJ already long ago acquire these same Eastman emails? It’s always difficult to tell if the DOJ is ahead or behind the 1/6 committee in any given area, because the committee speaks to the public while it’s still investigating, and the DOJ generally doesn’t speak to the public until it indicts someone.
Remember, the DOJ’s goal in an organized crime probe like this is not to indict Eastman. It’s to flip Eastman against Trump. If indicting Eastman now won’t flip him, and will instead cause him to dig in his heels, there’s no point. Better to keep digging until you uncover so overwhelmingly much against Eastman, you’re able to convince him that he needs to flip against Trump.
Indicting Eastman, going to trial, convicting him, and then flipping him, is the slow path. That’s an extra year or two. Quicker to just keep piling on and make him crack. And maybe Eastman never does crack. But in that case you just indict him in the end, even as you move forward against Trump with the co-conspirators who have flipped on Trump. Then Eastman just goes out with the trash, so to speak.
So I don’t care that Eastman hasn’t been indicted yet. That wouldn’t be a sign of progress; it would more likely be a sign that the DOJ couldn’t flip him against Trump and gave up trying to flip him. I am interested in whether the DOJ already has what the 1/6 committee just got, or if the DOJ is about to obtain it from the 1/6 committee and then use it to try to get Eastman to crack. It’s almost better if the DOJ doesn’t have those emails already, because that would mean it can still use them to try to crack him. We’ll see.
And yes, it’s possible Eastman has already flipped on Trump a long time ago. The DOJ doesn’t announce such deals in real time, and for good reason. Even if Eastman flipped months ago, we may not know it until Trump is indicted. That’s just how it goes. It’s not a matter of having “patience” or “keeping the faith” or any of those platitudes. It’s about understanding that while the DOJ knows it works for the general public, it doesn’t consider you to be a partner in its criminal probes, so it’s not going to tell you about the moves and progress it’s making until it has an indictment ready to go.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report