The report details how John Eastman went from a "little-known academic" on Fox News to meeting with then-President Trump in the Oval Office.
"Soon, Mr. Eastman was meeting face to face at Mr. Trump's urging with the attorney general, William P. Barr, and telling him how Mr. Trump could unilaterally impose limits on birthright citizenship," the newspaper reported. "Then, after the November election, Mr. Eastman wrote the memo for which he is now best known, laying out steps that Vice President Mike Pence could take to keep Mr. Trump in power — measures Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have likened to a blueprint for a coup."
The relationship between the two men worried those around them, with Eastman's friends worried about his grip on reality.
"After Election Day, Mr. Eastman served as a behind-the-scenes legal quarterback of sorts for Mr. Trump, alarming some of Mr. Trump's aides, who feared he had found someone to enable his worst instincts at one of the most dangerous moments of his presidency. And it surprised many of Mr. Eastman's longtime friends and others, who questioned whether his access to power had skewed his vision of reality," the newspaper reported.
Just as Trump came to prominence pushing the racist birther conspiracy theory against Barack Obama, Eastman's rise occurred after he pushed a similar smear against Kamala Harris.
"Mr. Eastman had put himself on the radar of Mr. Trump's political aides during the election when Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to Mr. Trump's campaign, had shared on Twitter an article Mr. Eastman had written. The article, in an echo of racist questions stoked by Mr. Trump about where President Barack Obama had been born, questioned whether Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden's running mate, could legally become president because her parents had not been born in the United States," The Times reported.