Politics

Lauren Boebert's Angry Denials, John Eastman's Colorado Ties to January 6 Capitol Attack

Representative Lauren Boebert in an August video that featured slams on President Joe Biden and the phrase "I am sad and I am pissed," and John Eastman speaking at the January 6 rally before the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Representative Lauren Boebert in an August video that featured slams on President Joe Biden and the phrase "I am sad and I am pissed," and John Eastman speaking at the January 6 rally before the attack on the U.S. Capitol. YouTube/YouTube
Two prominent individuals with Colorado ties were connected to the organizers of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to new claims. U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert figures prominently in a blockbuster report from Rolling Stone; and the Washington Post takes aim at John Eastman, a retired professor who spoke at the rally at the White House, standing alongside Donald Trump sycophant Rudolph Giuliani, before the brutality broke out at the Capitol. Eastman has filed an intent to sue the University of Colorado Boulder after programs he'd been contracted to present as a visiting scholar were canceled following the violent attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Boebert, who'd just been sworn in as a U.S. Representative for the 3rd Congressional District, became an early target of charges that she enabled insurrectionists or even coordinated with them in connection with the January 6 actions. She refuted all of these claims, and in June, the House Ethics Committee dropped its investigation into her behavior. But a fresh inquiry could be in the offing, given the assertions made in an October 24 Rolling Stone article headlined "Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in 'Dozens' of Planning Meetings with Members of Congress and White House Staff."

The members of Congress named by Rolling Stone's sources include Georgia's Majorie Taylor Greene, Arizona's Paul Gosar, Alabama's Mo Brooks, North Carolina's Madison Cawthorn, Texas's Louie Gohmert — and Boebert. At one point, an unnamed organizer is quoted as saying, "We would talk to Boebert's team, Cawthorn's team, Gosar's team, like, back to back to back to back."

Boebert's Twitter account, where she regularly lashes out at President Joe Biden and other perceived enemies, initially ignored the Rolling Stone piece, focusing instead on topics such as YouTube's banning of the song "Let's Go Brandon" — a phrase that's become a right-wing substitute for the chant "Fuck Joe Biden." Boebert, who was photographed holding a "Let's Go Brandon" sign at a recent Denver Broncos game, pointed out that while the tune is no longer on the service, "'WAP' is still available for your viewing and listening pleasure. Carry on."


On the afternoon of October 25, however, the pressure had built sufficiently to prompt a statement titled "Rep. Boebert Responds to False Rolling Stone Article." It reads: "Let me be clear. I had no role in the planning or execution of any event that took place at the Capitol or anywhere in Washington, DC on January 6th. With the help of my staff, I accepted an invitation to speak at one event but ultimately I did not speak at any events on January 6th. Once again, the media is acting as a messaging tool for the radical left. The left falsely accused me of giving a reconnaissance tour. In reality, I was visiting the Capitol with my family. They lied claiming my mother was the 'bull horn lady.' She was not. They filed an ethics complaint against me for alleged involvement in January 6th activities, but the complaint was dismissed because it simply was not true. Now, grasping at straws, Rolling Stone is using anonymous sources and shoddy reporting to attack me. Thank you, next."

(Note that "Thank You, Next" echoes an Ariana Grande ditty in which the singer expresses gratitude toward a series of ex-lovers. We're guessing that's not what Boebert meant, but it's hard to tell.)

As for Eastman, he's at the center of another attention-grabbing item: a Washington Post investigation titled "Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency." Eastman is said to have been at the very center of this confab, charged with coming up with a rationale for why the election results should be nullified, and how then-Vice President Mike Pence could make it happen.

Eastman didn't offer any comments about the Willard get-together, but the Post references a comment he made on May 5 during an appearance on Denver talk-show host Peter Boyles's KNUS radio show, as reported nationally by the newsletter Proof. "We had a war room at the Willard...kind of coordinating all the communications," Eastman told Boyles.


What the Post didn't note is that Eastman made an additional appearance with Boyles, who has forcefully argued that Biden won the election — a position very different from those espoused by KNUS colleagues such as Randy Corporon, who represents Eastman in the lawsuit against CU Boulder. But Eastman's May 7 turn ended abruptly when Boyles belittled the professor's references to affidavits about supposed election fraud by noting that he could sign such a document saying "I saw Bigfoot." In response, Eastman said, "I'm done. When you're going to go that direction...nice talking to you. Thanks very much" — and then hung up. (Click to hear the May 5 Boyles-Eastman interview and the May 7 followup. Eastman hangs up shortly after the 27:40 mark.)

As for Eastman's promised litigation against CU Boulder, which had paid him $185,000 through the Benson Center for Western Civilization, Corporon filed an intent to sue the university in late April. The document disputes CU Boulder's position that Eastman's classes were dumped because enrollment was low and instead argues that the move was ideologically based.

The CU Boulder statement on the subject: "The campus’s decisions regarding Professor Eastman were made in accordance with its university policies concerning freedom of expression and academic freedom. Consistent with First Amendment principles and the university’s policies, Professor Eastman is able to speak on any subject he wishes and pursue his scholarship. The university has taken no action that would deter a reasonable person from engaging in free speech, and Professor Eastman continues to express his views in writing...on television...and at in-person events. The university, however, is not constitutionally obligated to have him serve in a representational capacity when he exercises his right to free speech. Professor Eastman was not suspended. The College of Arts & Sciences canceled his spring courses for low enrollment in accordance with its policies. Provost Moore appropriately relieved him from performing outreach functions on behalf of the Benson Center, because his continued performance of those duties would likely cause disruption and harm to the center."

Reached late on October 25, Corporon said that he couldn't comment on the Washington Post piece since he hadn't read it. But he insisted that the CU lawsuit is still in the offing. "With the filing of our Notice of Intent to Sue CU earlier this year, our statutory clock is ticking," he explained. "No firm plans yet."

Members of Congress or prosecutors could change that schedule. Pundits on MSNBC's Deadline: White House spent about an hour of airtime yesterday debating about whether Eastman could be criminally charged for his actions at the Willard Hotel.

Click to read John Eastman's intent to sue the University of Colorado Boulder.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts