Ex-La Habra police chief gets 11-year sentence for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Alan Hostetter, a former La Habra police chief-turned yoga instructor and conservative Orange County activist who called for the execution of his political enemies after the 2020 elections, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years and three months in federal prison for joining a mob of rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The former law enforcement officer planned for weeks in the leadup to Jan. 6, transported weapons across the country and while armed with a hatchet joined the group of rioters that overran the U.S. Capitol.

While Hostetter himself was not accused of taking part in direct violence on Jan. 6, prosecutors in the leadup to his sentencing compared his actions to “terrorism,” saying he was “eager to stoke the fires of revolution” and called for the killing of those he deemed “tyrants and traitors.”

Hostetter — who represented himself at trial and sentencing — has continually downplayed the events of Jan. 6, arguing they were the result of a “federal setup” or a “three-hour hissy fit.”

Due to his former law enforcement past and his public role speaking out about pandemic-era state restrictions, Hostetter — until recently a San Clemente resident — is the most high-profile among the more than two dozen people with Southern California ties charged in connection with Jan. 6. Hostetter, now 59, has since moved to Poolville, Texas.

During his more than two-decade-long law enforcement career, Hostetter rose to the level of deputy chief within the Fontana Police Department and then briefly led the La Habra Police Department before taking a disability retirement. He had a second career as a yoga instructor, working with studios and private clients primarily in South Orange County, where he lived at the time as a San Clemente resident.

But it was his outspoken opposition to health restrictions during the pandemic that brought Hostetter a public spotlight and led to him headlining a series of high-profile anti-mask rallies. Along with Russell Taylor — a Ladera Ranch entrepreneur — Hostetter founded the American Phoenix Project, initially to push back against state coronavirus policies and later to argue then-President Trump’s since disproven claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election.

Hostetter’s public speeches were often incendiary. Before a cheering crowd at a Huntington Beach rally in December 2020 he called for “long prison terms” and “executions” for “ringleaders” of an anti-Trump “coup,” describing them as “enemies and traitors of America.” At a San Clemente rally in May 2020, Hostetter was taken into custody after allegedly trying to take down fencing blocking off the beach and the pier that had been set up to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

But it was his outspoken opposition to health restrictions during the pandemic that brought Hostetter a public spotlight and led to him headlining a series of high-profile anti-mask rallies. Along with Russell Taylor — a Ladera Ranch entrepreneur — Hostetter founded the American Phoenix Project, initially to push back against state coronavirus policies and later to argue then-President Trump’s since disproven claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election.

Hostetter’s public speeches were often incendiary. Before a cheering crowd at a Huntington Beach rally in December 2020 he called for “long prison terms” and “executions” for “ringleaders” of an anti-Trump “coup,” describing them as “enemies and traitors of America.” At a San Clemente rally in May 2020, Hostetter was taken into custody after allegedly trying to take down fencing blocking off the beach and the pier that had been set up to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Why the Jan. 6 Committee Handed Out a Criminal Referral to a Former California Law Professor

Former Chapman University professor John Eastman is among the individuals whom the Jan. 6 committee has recommended face federal criminal charges for their roles in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The committee recommended that Eastman and former President Trump should face federal criminal charges for obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States. It recommended prosecuting “Trump and others” on two additional charges: conspiracy to make a false statement and inciting, assisting, or aiding or comforting an insurrection.

“[Trump] entered into agreements, formal and informal, with several individuals who assisted him with his criminal objects,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said during Monday’s committee hearing.

In a statement after the referrals were announced, Eastman said the referral of charges from the committee to the Justice Department “carries no more legal weight than a ‘referral’ from any American citizen.”

“In fact, a ‘referral’ from the January 6th committee should carry a great deal less weight due to the absurdly partisan nature of the process that produced it,” Eastman said.

Who is John Eastman?

Eastman’s theory that former Vice President Mike Pence could reject or delay the certification of state electors was essential to Trump’s effort to convince his base that the election was being stolen. Eastman was central to “the development of a legal strategy to justify a coup,” according to Douglas Letter, the general counsel to the House of Representatives.

Eastman was also involved with a scheme to appoint alternate slates of Trump electors who could vote him back into office after he lost the 2020 election.

Eastman is already under investigation. Justice Department investigators searched his cellphone and emails earlier this year. In a March court filing, the Jan. 6 committee alleged Eastman and Trump were a part of a “criminal conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 election.

“[Eastman’s] role was not simply as an advisor; he spoke at the rally on the morning of January 6, spreading falsehoods to tens of thousands of people,” the committee wrote.

Eastman was interviewed by the committee in 2021, but invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Along with Trump and Eastman, the Committee recommended charges against former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Justice Dept. official Jeffrey Clark and former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Eastman has deep ties to Southern California and the conservative movement.

What’s Eastman’s background?

Eastman, 62, was born in Lincoln, Neb., and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and economics from the University of Dallas, a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a doctorate in government from the Claremont Graduate School in Claremont.

Before joining Chapman University’s law school in 1999, Eastman clerked for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. (Thomas’ wife, Ginni, was also a focus of the Jan. 6 committee’s investigations.)

Eastman is currently a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank, and founded the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.

During his speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, Eastman demanded that Pence “let the legislatures of the states look into this, so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not.”

More than 140 Chapman University faculty members and three trustees signed a letter stating Eastman’s actions “should disqualify him from the privilege of teaching law to Chapman students and strip him of the honor of an endowed chair.”

Eastman called the letter “defamatory” and resigned before the faculty senate voted on a resolution against him. Both sides agreed not to sue each other, but Eastman’s connections to Chapman have affected the university’s reputation.

When did Eastman become acquainted with President Trump?

Eastman first officially entered the Trump orbit in the days after the Nov. 3, 2020, election when he was invited by people close to the then-president to help craft a legal memo challenging the election results in Pennsylvania.

In early December 2020, Trump asked him to bring legal action challenging the election directly to the Supreme Court. Eastman made two filings to the court, but the effort quickly failed.

What did Eastman do?

Eastman crafted a legal memo outlining the most politically palatable options for Trump to overturn the 2020 election. He suggested that Pence send the electoral college votes back to states for “recertification” by a new set of electors.

Depositions released by the committee show that Eastman was part of several meetings with Pence’s staff, including a Jan. 4, 2021, Oval Office meeting with Trump and Pence to discuss what authority Pence had.

Eastman “admitted in advance of the 2020 election that Mike Pence could not lawfully refuse to count official elector votes. But he nevertheless… deployed a combination of bogus election fraud claims and the fake electoral ballots to say that Mike Pence, presiding over the joint sessions, could reject legitimate electoral votes for President-elect Biden,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) during Monday’s hearing.

Emails released by the committee also show Eastman arguing with Pence’s staff during the riot about what the vice president should do when Congress returned to finish counting the votes.

The committee also highlighted Eastman’s effort to overturn the election even after the attack on the Capitol happened.

“The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way, so that the American people can see for themselves what happened,” Eastman wrote in an email to Greg Jacob, Pence’s lawyer.

Once the riot at the Capitol ended, Eastman again emailed Jacob to say the vice president should refuse to certify the election and send it back to the states.

Under the Constitution, the vice president oversees the counting of the electoral college votes.

The House recently passed legislation declaring that the role of the vice president in electoral-vote counting is purely ceremonial. The measure is expected to pass the Senate in a spending bill later this month.

Did Eastman stop his efforts to overturn the election after Jan. 6, 2021?

No. Back in June, the committee released video showing a deposition by former White House attorney Eric Herschmann, who discussed a phone call from Eastman the day after the riot. Herschmann remembered Eastman asking him about preserving documentation dealing with the Georgia election that Eastman alleged could potentially be used in an appeal.

“And I said to him, ‘Are you out of your effing mind?’” Herschmann said in the video. “I said, ‘I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: ‘orderly transition.’”

Herschmann demanded that Eastman repeat those two words back to him — Eastman eventually did.

“I said, ‘Good, John. Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life: Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer. You’re going to need it,’” Herschmann said. “And then I hung up on him.”

Has Eastman’s opinion of the Jan. 6 events changed?

In a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal, Eastman denies that he claimed Pence “could unilaterally reject electoral votes and simply declare President Trump reelected.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

The January 6th Omission

The January 6th Omission

As I write this, exactly one week after the commemoration of the January 6th “Insurrection,” I’d like to offer another perspective, as unbiased as one can, about the veracity of the narrative of this infamous day.  I believe this essay will show, undeniably, how our “news” has carefully woven an “event tapestry,” with threads of fiction and misconception, crisscrossing with threads of fact,  I’d like to unravel, so to speak, the mainstream narrative with the following five observations. 

Fake News by Omission 

It’s stunning to me how the media can change a narrative by not including something as much as  by including something.  Case in point: the “lessening of events.”  Both President Biden and VP Harris snugly opined that January 6th goes down in history with two other events: 911 and Pearl harbor.  Wow!  I almost could not believe my ears when I heard that, which I believe angered most of America as well.  My gut reaction was, “You’re comparing it to what??  You have to be kidding me Joe–.”  I don’t have to go into the enormity of the horrors of 9/11 or Pearl harbor to demonstrate that January 6th is simply not comparable in scope.  When we inflate certain events for political gain, there’s often unintended consequences of lessening the horrors of other truly terrible events.  Not to mention, I can think of other days which saw incredibly more chaos, death, and destruction than January 6th: the bloodiest day of our civil war at Antietam,  the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, the burning down of the entire area called Black Wall Street in Omaha, Nebraska in 1921, which saw upwards of 200 African Americans murdered, and so on.  Would I be wrong to say that the president and vice president may need a history lesson? 

A Mission…of Omission?

Amazingly, the media sometimes left out the fact that President Trump said to “…peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” during his speech on January 6th.  In fact, something that hurt the creditability of the impeachment trial was that the “peacefully and patriotically” line was totally left out of the video shown to Congress.  Instead, the video shows Mr. Trump saying, “We’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down…to the Capitol.”  Right after, it cuts to another scene showing someone in the crowd shouting, “Let’s take the Capitol!”  Good job, investigation members. 

Listen to Your “Elder”

I’d like to give the talk show host, Larry Elder, credit for mentioning for mentioning the following “deep thought.”  If the Dem Party thinks it’s vital to have an exhaustive “January 6th” investigation to find out who, what, and where was the cause of this insurrection, then WHY did they impeach Donald Trump for being responsible for it, as if it was already an open-and-shut, “LOCK HIM UP” case?  I think the value of the instrument of impeachment was also minimized in future importance by having this investigation after it, instead of before.

A Call to Arms

If you watch or read the mainstream news about January 6th, you will occasionally hear about an “armed insurrection.”  This is another kind of “fake news” by omission.  If you consider flagpoles and fire extinguishers as arms, then yes, the riot was an armed event.  But, of course, the inference refers to firearms, of which nobody had in the Capitol that day, except for law enforcement.  Leaving out what kind of “arms” in the story…really affects the story.  Also, what about “all the deaths” that day?  The only death, sadly, that day, was one of the rioters, tragically a patriotic female  Air Force veteran.   Conversely, the BLM riots (aka the Woke Riots) saw an estimate of 25 people murdered, including people of color.  

The Long Arm of the Law

I’d lastly like to draw the stark contrast between the general progressive attitude toward law enforcement nearly all year round, juxtaposed with their view of law enforcement on January 6th.  Typically, as of the past few years, law enforcement is scolded by progressives through defunding, abolishing, blaming, scapegoating, etc.  However, with the January 6th observation earlier this month, it was pleasantly amazing how “the Left” showed nothing but praise, thankfulness, solidarity, and good wishes to the Capitol police.  (Note: Let me be absolutely clear that I’m not saying all progressives are against law enforcement, but rather speaking in general terms.)   The mainstream media also repeatedly spoke with great empathy about how some  Capitol officers were maimed, kicked, punched, maced, and so on.  However, concerning the hundreds of police injured during the 2020 Riots (a total of 574 riots), the level of sentiment shown by “the Left” was not the same.  Equity was lacking.  I’d like to end by wishing good vibes for the future of this country, that we will somehow find the peace, unity, and civility it deserves.  May we all seek to be more united…in these, the United States.

Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Trump Allies Linked to D.C. ‘War Room’

The Jan. 6 Committee is homing in on the top actors linked to Donald Trump’s last-ditch attempt to overturn the 2020 election, newly subpoenaing campaign employees and allies linked to the infamous “war room” that was used to strategize how to reverse the election results.

The committee is demanding testimony from half a dozen denizens of Trump World, including people who met with Trump personally as he tried to deny the election results. On Monday, they subpoenaed John EastmanMichael Flynn and former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik; as well as campaign staffers Jason MillerBill Stepien and Angela McCallum.

Investigators are commanding the six witnesses to provide documents by Nov. 23 — two days before Thanksgiving — and appear for testimony between Nov. 30 and Dec. 13, according to letters accompanying the subpoenas.

“The Select Committee needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement.

The panel is already locked in a legal fight with Trump to obtain reams of White House records that might shed light on his actions leading up to Jan. 6. The panel has also subpoenaed top Trump aides like former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and longtime adviser Dan Scavino, while another round of subpoenas targeted the organizers of pro-Trump rallies that preceded the attack on the Capitol.

The latest batch targetsa mix of people who worked on Trump’s campaign and others who toiled alongside it. Eastman, an attorney who helped Trump push then-Vice President Mike Pence to resist certification of the Electoral College vote, has long been in the committee’s sights. He and Kerik both appeared at a so-called “command center” for allies of Trump outside of his administration, based at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington in the days before the attack, as The Washington Post has reported. People at the hotel strategized to overturn the election results, planning to push state lawmakers and the vice president, according to the paper.

Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, huddled with Trump in the Oval Office in the days before Jan. 6 as Trump tried to overturn his defeat. Trump had just weeks earlier pardoned Flynn on charges that he lied to the FBI. Flynn — who had publicly called for the military to intervene and seize voting machines in the months after the election — had spent years resisting congressional efforts to compel his testimony in other Trump-related matters.

Flynn gave a speech, laden with false claims of fraud, to Trump supporters in Washington the day before the attack on the Capitol, as CNN has detailed.

Click here to read full article on politico.com