Person

Norman L. Eisen

Norman L. Eisen is a lawyer and former diplomat with an extensive track record of left-of-center institution-building and policy advocacy. Eisen held several positions in the transition team and administration of President Barack Obama, who later appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic. He later waged an aggressive legal action campaign against former President Donald Trump. In February 2019, Eisen joined the House Judiciary Committee as Special Counsel to assist with impeachment proceedings against then-President Trump. [1]

Early Career

Eisen worked for the left-of-center Anti-Defamation League from 1985 to 1988. Eisen helped promote the organization’s agenda to government officials and law enforcement agencies. He also helped promote increased American support for Israel. In 1989, Eisen worked as a research assistant for Harvard professor and lawyer Alan Dershowitz, whom he assisted with appeals on behalf of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. He also worked as a research assistant for then-Judge and future Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1991. [2]

CREW

In 2001, Eisen co-founded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-of-center legal organization that brings lawsuits and ethics charges against government officials, almost exclusively targeting Republicans. Democratic Party operative and Media Matters for America founder David Brock became chairman of CREW in 2014, and Eisen returned to the organization as board chair in 2016. CREW has received funding from major left-of-center grantmaking organizations, including the Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund. [3][4]

CREW filed at least 180 legal challenges against President Trump during his time in office, starting with a lawsuit alleging conflicts of interest stemming from President Trump hosting foreign government officials at his properties. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. [5]

Czech Republic Ambassadorship

In January 2011, the Obama administration appointed Eisen as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic. During his three-year tenure, Eisen lobbied the Czech government to continue deploying troops to Afghanistan, enforce economic sanctions against Iran, and take the side of Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He also worked to normalize same-sex relationships in Czech society and promoted the creation of LGBT parades in the capital city of Prague. [6]

Brookings Institution

In September 2014, Eisen joined the Brookings Institution as a governance studies fellow. [7] In November 2019, the Brookings Institution published a report entitled “The Democracy Playbook: Preventing and Reversing Democratic Backsliding.” Eisen co-authored the report, which called for the United States and European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Western non-governmental organizations to help overthrow right-of-center and nationalist governments in Eastern Europe. The report recommended that American and European institutions provide support for anti-government media and activists in Russia, Poland, Hungary, and elsewhere. The report also blamed what it called “illiberal populism” for these nations’ opposition to American foreign policy. [8]

House Judiciary Committee

In February 2019, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) appointed Eisen as Special Oversight Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, which handled the investigation into allegations of collusion between President Trump, Russia, and Ukraine, and the resulting impeachment proceedings. [9]

2020 Election

In February 2021, Time magazine published an article celebrating a joint campaign by corporate executives, labor union leaders, and Democratic Party operatives to shut down President Trump’s push for recounts following delays and discrepancies in the 2020 election results. The article identified Eisen as a recruiter for the Voter Protection Program, an organization created to shut down President Trump’s efforts to contest the election outcome. [10]

Controversies

Former Trump administration policy advisor and speechwriter Darren Beattie has compared Eisen’s strategy of repeated lawsuits and draft impeachment articles to that of a “color revolution” – a method of regime change in foreign nations which combines pre-planned mass protests over a contested election with diplomatic and legal pressure on the target government. Beattie noted that Eisen had co-authored “The Democracy Playbook,” which provides instructions for supporting government destabilization efforts and cites the 2004 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine as a successful example of these tactics. The publication also explicitly uses the term “color revolution” for coups in Eastern Europe. [11][12]

The right-of-center National Review also compared efforts by left-of-center organizations and influencers to instigate what it described as a “major confrontation” that would lead to the Trump administration being “toppled,” and not simply voted out, to the color revolution strategy. National Review cited an article in The Atlantic, an influential left-of-center publication, that compared the 2020 protests, riots, and election disputes in America to the 2014 pro-European Union coup in Ukraine, which National Review called “the capstone Color Revolution.” [13]

References

  1.             “Chairman Nadler Announces Special Oversight Counsels to House Judiciary Committee Staff,” House Committee on the Judiciary, February 12, 2019. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://judiciary.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1503 ^
  2. Ambassador (ret.) Normal L. Eisen Curriculum Vitae. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20170317_norm_eisencv.pdf ^
  3.             Ambassador (ret.) Normal L. Eisen Curriculum Vitae. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20170317_norm_eisencv.pdf ^
  4.        “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,” Discover the Networks. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/citizens-for-responsibility-and-ethics-in-washington-crew/ ^
  5.             “Spending at Trump properties raise questions about conflicts of interest – report,” Russia Today, January 16, 2018. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.rt.com/usa/416122-trump-properties-ethical-questions/ ^
  6.      Ambassador (ret.) Normal L. Eisen Curriculum Vitae. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20170317_norm_eisencv.pdf ^
  7.     Ambassador (ret.) Normal L. Eisen Curriculum Vitae. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20170317_norm_eisencv.pdf ^
  8.    Norman Eisen et al., “The Democracy Playbook: Preventing and Reversing Democratic Backsliding,” Brookings Institution, November 2019. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/The-Democracy-Playbook_Preventing-and-Reversing-Democratic-Backsliding.pdf ^
  9.           “Chairman Nadler Announces Special Oversight Counsels to House Judiciary Committee Staff,” House Committee on the Judiciary, February 12, 2019. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://judiciary.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1503 ^
  10.           Molly Ball, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” Time, February 4, 2021. Accessed February 12, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  11.        Norman Eisen et al., “The Democracy Playbook: Preventing and Reversing Democratic Backsliding,” Brookings Institution, November 2019. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/The-Democracy-Playbook_Preventing-and-Reversing-Democratic-Backsliding.pdf ^
  12.        “Tucker: From the beginning, the COVID pandemic has been shrouded in lies,” Fox News, September 15, 2020. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/tucker-from-the-beginning-the-covid-pandemic-has-been-shrouded-in-lies ^
  13.          Michael Brendan Dougherty, “The Coming Color Revolution,” National Review, August 11, 2020. Accessed February 11, 2021. https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/08/the-coming-color-revolution/ ^
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