Which Santa Fe Restaurant Was Trump Lackey John Eastman Eating At When the FBI Seized His Phone? An Investigation

Photo shows the House Chambers with a big screen showing an image of John Eastman, a yelling white man with white hair.

An image of Eastman appears onscreen during the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack public hearings. Photo via Getty Images.

Trump-allied attorney John Eastman’s ears are probably burning, considering that the House Jan. 6 Select Committee has recently discussed him at length; specifically, they’ve questioned witnesses about an allegation that he came up with a completely bonkers and entirely illegal You will pressure Mike Pence to reverse the election. (Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified to Eastman that he had told him his plan was “crazy”he said Eastman essentially shrugged off the idea that violent protests would follow. 

Eastman filed suit Monday in New Mexico federal court demanding that the FBI return his phone. He claimed it was taken from him June 22nd in the Santa Fe parking lot. This is where he lives now and where I come from. Everyone in northern New Mexico responded with a resounding yes: He lives here! And, perhaps more importantly, Which restaurant is he in? I believe I have the answer to the second question, despite a chaotic, time-consuming, and Twitter-heavy use my day. This was with the help of family members, Google streetview, and crucially, some friends from high school. 

Food is a big preoccupation in northern New Mexico, because it’s the best on earth, and because the choice of where to eat is deeply a deeply political and culturally-specific decision that reveals a lot about the individual.  Was Eastman dining at a fancy country club-esque establishment like Quail Run or Las Campanas? He was apparently living large at Steaksmith, which is now called Bourbon Grill. He was spotted eating at Chick-Fil-A, a chain that only recently arrived in the city. John Eastman is a man of great taste. Does he know where the best food is? 

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Before he started haunting local eateries, Eastman presented a completely false and clearly bullshit theory about mass voter fraud. In a now-famous memoIn this video, he outlined a step-by, step plan to keep Trump at the helm. He has moved to Santa Fe, regrettably, in his limited time and not attempting to subvert democracy. This is not a rare problem: bizarre creeps of national intrigue move to New Mexico all year to be relatively unobserved. Who bought a Taos house?, and John Ehrlichman, former Nixon White House Counsel, who Moved to Santa Fe and grew my beardAfter serving time in prison for his role as Watergate’s conspirator. (His very kind daughter taught me piano. 

According to public records, Eastman has a two-bedroom, two bathroom home in a nice area of town. According to the records, he purchased the house in 2003 for a little over $400,000 and also owns another property in Long Beach. Texans and Californians who purchase second homes in New Mexico are regarded as a scourge.A new legislative proposal would tax their property at a higher rate.. Back in 2008, Eastman also appears to have briefly rented an apartment in a fairly charmless complex on Santa Fe’s south side, which is very funny, but probably only if you’re from here. (Eastman’s attorney, Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank where Eastman works as a senior fellow, and Eastman did not immediately reply to requests for comment. 

Eastman claimed that FBI agents were involved in the June 27 New Mexico U.S. District Court motion. He was approachedHe was leaving the house on June 22nd, in the evening. “a restaurant.”Eastman stated that he requested a warrant from them. However, he claimed they showed it to him only after he had been frisked and his mobile phone was seized. The motion appears to be spinning another type of conspiracy theory, reading. “The federal agents identified themselves as FBI agents, but they appeared to be executing a warrant issued at the behest of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General” (OIG). It respectfully demands the return of his phone—an iPhone Pro 12—and that the court order the OIG “to destroy all copies of any information that has already been retrieved or copied from the device.”It also adds “Movant further requests that any access to the cell phone and its information be stayed until he has a full and fair opportunity to assert and protect his Constitutional rights and the privileged communications of his numerous clients.” 

Video of the phone seizure Also aired Monday night on Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News. Tucker, who was broadcasting from Brazil, looked stifled as Eastman claimed that Tucker’s Fourth Amendment rights were being violated. “This warrant is invalid on its face,”Eastman said it to him and compared it to a “general warrant that the British king issued to just go rummage through somebody’s belongings to see if they could find evidence of some crime.” 

That’s all certainly a lot of words, if not very good ones. New Mexicans immediately became interested in the restaurant concept. Twitter and a Facebook group called Santa Fe Bulletin Board were both created immediately. Heated speculationInformation about where Eastman might have eaten. 

I texted several relatives to get their thoughts. One of them believed it was Quail Run or some other fancy, secluded location.

“We witnessed a patron carry on endlessly about water the wait staff spilled on her there,”The family member offered. “It was quite a performance. We decided they were Republicans by virtue of their demonstration of outrage and personal offense.” 

This was compelling evidence, but it wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t help but to Tweet about this. I joined a Twitter thread with seven friends from high school. We used to all go to punk shows at Warehouse 21 together. 

We started to speculate using the blurry background of Fox News’ video. Eastman was clearly in a large parking lot, which suggested one of the major artery roads on Santa Fe’s south side. Chick-Fil-A seemed like a likely contender, because Eastman seems like exactly the kind of guy who would eat there, and, according to Google Street View, the strip mall where it’s located is one of the only places that seems to have the kind of large parking lot lights on a high pole seen in the background of the video. 

“I bet it was Chick-Fil-A,”My old friend Dave, whom I haven’t seen in 20 years, tweeted. Other people in the thread disagreed: wouldn’t he be eating somewhere nicer, like The Compound, one of Santa Fe’s nicest restaurants, or at least The Shed, which has a very long wait and appropriately hot chile and incredibly good frozen mocha cake? 

“Imagine him being perp walked out of that tiny door,”Warren, my friend, tweeted. (The Shed has very low entryways. In other words, while that was a super funny visual, it couldn’t be right; the Shed is also located near the plaza and faces a very narrow street, not a parking lot.

We were all distracted by our jobs and clicking around Google Maps. The problem was the large number of trees in the background, as well as the huge, high-powered parking lot lights. The denseness of the trees suggested that it was near water, and the large size of the lot meant that it was on the outskirts. 

“What about something over where Annapurna was?” suggested Dave, naming a restaurant that’s been closed for years at that location, because all of our references are 15 years old, and we too are old. “What’s over there now?”

This was a good theory; Annapurna was in another strip mall on the other end of town, near the veteran’s cemetery. But to me, it didn’t ring true; that strip mall is home to a natural foods store (Eastman definitely wasn’t there), a sushi place (no), and a pho joint (come on). 

Nevertheless, we all checked Google Street View once more and realized Dave was right. “I think Dave actually cracked the case,”Liz, my old friend, tweeted a side-by side comparison of the parking lot with a still from her video. The shape of lights, the angle of trees, and the overhead power line were all obvious.

Eastman was the only thing that made sense. The question was then, where exactly in the strip mall could he be eating? Dave suggested Valentina’s, a New Mexican restaurant that’s open for dinner, and that’s significantly less upscale than anywhere we’d had in mind, but perhaps an apt choice for someone trying to portray himself a man of the people. Everyone agreed that the tortas taste good and that they serve fried ice cream. (My friend Liz pointed this out to me. parked closer to Kelly’s Liquors, and perhaps could’ve been there instead; but he said he was having dinner, and we have to take him at his word.)

Warren, who’d been about to feed his infant child or something less important, raced to the scene. “I’m here,” He tweeted. He checked with Valentina’s staff and the sushi restaurant, neither of whom recognized an image of a flustered white man being frisked by the feds. (The pho restaurant was closed. Warren also reported that Outside magazine’s journalist, clearly spying on our important tweet, was also present. He was looking and he showed up.

Eastman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether he’d gone to Valentina’s and whether he ordered the fried ice cream. This one seems to be part of the unsolved Trump universe.

Warren Langford provides additional reporting.

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