Federal agents with a search warrant seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who famously advised former President Donald Trump on key elements of the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The seizure of Eastman’s phone is the latest evidence that the Department of Justice is intensifying its criminal investigation into various pieces of Trump’s effort to cling to power after he lost his re-election bid.
In the past week alone, the Justice Department has delivered grand jury subpoenas to a variety of figures with roles in backing Trump’s efforts. It also carried out at least one other search of a key figure.
Eastman filed a motion to recover property from the government, and said F.B.I. Agents in New Mexico acting on behalf of the Justice Department stopped him as he was leaving a restaurant last week to seize his iPhone.
A copy of the warrant was included in Eastman’s filing, which said the phone would be taken to either the Justice Department or to the inspector general’s forensic lab.
The seizure of Eastman’s phone came on the same day that federal agents raided the home of Jeffrey Clark and seized his electronic devices. Clark is a former Justice Department official who was central to Trump’s efforts to coerce the department’s leaders into backing his false claims of fraud in the 2020 election in order to overturn it.
It appears the department is gathering information about two lawyers who were in very close contact with Trump in the critical timeframe before the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection on the Capitol by his supporters.
The advice that Eastman and Clark gave Trump involved separate, but intersecting, proposals in order to skirt his legitimate defeat and cling to power. Clark focused on using the power of the Justice Department on Trump’s behalf. Eastman focused on disrupting the congressional certification of the election’s outcome.