Politico, the New York Times, and the Denver Post are among several publications reporting on a cache of emails that show John Eastman, a lawyer and Trump supporter, advising Lebanon County state Rep. Russ Diamond (R-102) regarding efforts to block Joe Biden’s Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election win.

In December 2020, Diamond exchanged emails with Eastman and later sought feedback from him on a draft resolution that would have thrown out Biden’s 80,000-vote victory in Pennsylvania and sent a slate of unelected Donald Trump electors to Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

The emails and drafts of Diamond’s resolution were obtained through a right-to-know request filed by the Colorado Ethics Institute and fulfilled by the University of Colorado Boulder, which employed Eastman at the time.

Diamond was one of several Pennsylvania Republican legislators who falsely claimed that the election was stolen from Trump.  

In the aftermath of the election, Diamond also incorrectly alleged that more Pennsylvania presidential votes had been counted than actually cast, and he proposed legislation to remove all 9 million registered Pennsylvania voters from voter rolls, forcing them to re-register.

In a series of emails between Diamond and Eastman, whose emails have been subpoenaed by a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, the two discuss a plan to throw out at least 80,000 mail-in ballots, making Trump the popular vote winner in Pennsylvania, and allowing the General Assembly to appoint electors who would vote for Trump in the Electoral College.

Diamond reached out to Eastman in a Dec. 4, 2020 email, sent from his General Assembly account, noting that he had read Eastman’s testimony before the Georgia state senate about supposed vote fraud.

“Here in Pennsylvania,” Diamond wrote, “numerous other frustrated colleagues and I are searching for legislative solutions to our current national predicament,” apparently referring to Biden’s victory in the nationwide popular vote.

Diamond then asked Eastman for his opinion on a plan to bypass Pennsylvania’s constitution and laws in order to void Biden’s victory:

“Forgive me as I am not an attorney,” Diamond wrote, “but my takeaway from your testimony was … [b]ecause the US Constitution vests the authority to create election law in the state legislatures, and because Pennsylvania’s judicial and executive branches issued decisions and guidance which contravene the election law the Pennsylvania state legislature created, resulting in an unlawful election, the state legislature can exercise its plenary authority to appoint presidential electors, regardless of restraints existing within Pennsylvania’s constitution and statutes, because of the supremacy clause of the US Constitution and because the act of appointing presidential electors is a function of the US Constitution.”

Eastman replied by email, saying “You’re [sic] summary is spot on.”

Excerpt from Russ Diamond’s email to John Eastman.

Diamond proceeded to draft several versions of a General Assembly resolution declaring “the November 3, 2020 election of presidential electors to be unlawful, and the results thereof null and void…,” and submitted them to Eastman for review.

Based on a suggestion from Eastman, what appears to be the final version of Diamond’s resolution added a provision for naming 20 presumably pro-Trump electors who would be chosen by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

It is unknown whether any version of Diamond’s resolution was presented to other members of the General Assembly or to anyone else.

However, Diamond and his fellow Lebanon County state representative, Frank Ryan (R-101), later co-sponsored House Resolution 7 and House Resolution 8 of 2021, which contained similar language, including the General Assembly’s intent to “[d]eclare the November 3, 2020, election process for appointing electors of President and Vice President for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as neither equal nor uniform, but instead as unlawful, void ab initio and the results thereof invalid.”

HR7 and HR8, neither of which passed, concluded by asserting that the Republican-controlled General Assembly therefore had the right and authority to appoint electors for president and vice president.

Replying via email to a LebTown request for comment, Diamond stated that Eastman “was but one of many individuals I interacted with in the aftermath of the 2020 General Election,” and that “as with any legislative effort, not every idea bounced around in draft form is included in the final product.”

Diamond concluded by stating, “I believe that jealously guarding and preserving the legitimate authority of the Pennsylvania General Assembly should always remain a priority. That was my primary objective, which again is evident by a reading of the resolutions I offered.”

In a later phone interview on May 12, Diamond added that Eastman expressed to him a number of suggestions and ideas with which he did not agree and which he did not include in his resolutions.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...