The committee’s third public hearing on January 6 of this month is in the books. It largely focused on Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on Mike Pence to overturn the Electoral College results before January 6, 2021.
I saw the whole thing. The lines you need to see are below. (They are arranged in rough chronological order.)
Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, is referring here to former Vice President Pence. And, as the hearing made clear, were it not for Pence (and his general counsel Greg Jacob), the country might have descended into civil war. No exaggeration.
Cheney, the committee’s vice chairman, makes a striking contrast here. What Pence did was fulfill his first and most important duty: to follow the Constitution, whether or not it was good for him, politically speaking. (Clearly it wasn’t.) Trump, on the other hand, was just looking for a way to hang on to power, the Constitution (and everything else) be damned.
As Jacob repeatedly made clear during the hearing, Pence was adamant that the Constitution simply did not give him the power that Trump (and attorney John Eastman) insisted it did. And not only that he didn’t have that power, but also that he shouldn’t. Pence said the same thing in a speech to the Federalist Society last February: “There is no more anti-American idea than the notion that one person can elect the American president.”
Consider what Luttig is saying here: that if Pence had not stood his ground, the country would have fallen into total crisis, and that we might as well have been dealing with a revolution. Jacob echoed that sentiment during the hearing. Broadcasting a conversation he had had with Eastman just days before the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, Jacob had this to say: “As I expressed to [Eastman]That issue might well then have to be decided in the streets, because if we can’t resolve it politically, we’ve already seen how burdened people are with this election.”
This is as clear as anyone can be about the complete lack of legal or historical support for what Eastman was proposing: that Pence turn away voters from key states and, in doing so, annul the election. Also, in case you were wondering, Luttig is a Republican who was appointed as a judge by Republican President George HW Bush. So yes.
The “Mark” referred to here is Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. And what Short said that Meadows agreed on was that the vice president did not have the authority to override the January 6 election.
This is Herschmann telling Eastman what he thinks of the theory that Pence had the power to nullify the election. Later, after the riots, Herschmann spoke to Eastman again, warning him that he needed a good lawyer because he was in a lot of trouble. (Herschmann later hanged Eastman.)
Jacob paints a vivid picture of what would have happened had Pence followed Trump’s (and Eastman’s) lead and kicked out voters on January 6. the system and state legislatures are also in the mix, but they can’t conclusively decide how this all ended.
That’s the question Trump asked Pence in the days leading up to Jan. 6, according to the book “Danger” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which California Rep. Pete Aguilar referred to at Thursday’s hearing. The quote talks about how Trump viewed the presidency and his life. The amount of power any individual should have depends entirely on how much power he (or she) can get for himself. There is no room in that calculation, of course, for any semblance of the greater good. Not even close.
This is a reference to a Jan. 5 statement in which Trump insisted that Pence “strongly agreed” that he had the power to intervene in the counting of Electoral College votes. Pence, in a meeting with Trump that same day, made it clear that he believed the exact opposite, according to Jacob. So Trump just lied, because that’s what he wanted to believe.
Trump called Pence on the morning of January 6. It was, according to Ivanka Trump, who was in the Oval Office, a “pretty heated” conversation. Former White House aide Nicholas Luna said he heard the president tell Pence that he would be a “coward” if he didn’t overturn the election results. Julie Radford, an aide to Ivanka Trump, testified before the committee that Donald Trump had also called Pence “the ‘p’ word” on that call.
In a stunning recreation of the scene at the US Capitol and Pence’s movements that day, Aguilar documented how, at one point, Pence was only 40 yards from rioters, some of whom were chanting: ” Hang Mike Pence.” And, not surprisingly, the insurgents had built a gallows outside the Capitol.
Short detailed a conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy during the riots. On that call, Short said McCarthy expressed “frustration” that the White House wasn’t doing more to stop what was happening on Capitol Hill. That memory is notable because there are two different versions of a separate call McCarthy had with Trump that day. In one, McCarthy engaged in a “profanity-filled” conversation with Trump. In the other, pushed by McCarthy, he was the first to alert Trump to the riots and the president promised to put an end to them.
In the immediate After the riots, Eastman reached out to Jacob and again pushed the idea that Pence could ask for a 10-day pause in the Electoral College vote count and send the issue back to state legislatures for vote count review. . Pence, um, wasn’t a fan of that proposal, as Jacob recalled.
During his testimony, as it was, before the committee on January 6, Eastman argued for the Fifth Amendment, which protects an individual from self-incrimination, more than 100 times, according to Aguilar. 100!
Days after the riots, Eastman contacted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani by email to see if he could be considered for a presidential pardon before Trump left office on Jan. 20, according to Aguilar. Which, um, isn’t the kind of thing a person completely convinced of his innocence does.