Next January 6 hearing: The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack focused on former President Donald Trump’s campaign to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes, hearing testimony on Thursday from close Pence aides who said the proposal to overturn the 2020 election was nonsensical and “un-American.”
“Mike Pence declined. He resisted the pressure. He was aware that it was unlawful and wrong “Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson announced the start of the third day of hearings on the Capitol attack. “We are grateful for Mr. Pence’s bravery on January 6. Our democracy came perilously close to collapse.”
Greg Jacob, Pence’s previous attorney, and J. Michael Luttig, a highly known conservative jurist and retired federal judge who counseled Pence after the 2020 election, were both present in person at Thursday’s hearing. The committee also played the video of an interview with Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and other staffers.
The evidence made it obvious that Pence and his closest advisers rejected a concept advanced by conservative lawyer John Eastman, who prepared a letter outlining a plan for the vice president to reject or alter slates of electors on his own. Eastman’s views, according to Pence’s advisers, have no validity in the Constitution or federal law.
Jacob told the panel that he told Pence in December that he had “no legitimate basis to believe” that he could reject Electoral College votes unilaterally, confirming Pence’s “initial reaction.” Pence presided over the joint session of Congress as it convened on Jan. 6 to count Electoral Votes, as mandated by the 12th Amendment and an 1887 legislation known as the Electoral Count Act.
“There’s no way that the founders of the Constitution — who split power and authority, who separated it out, who had broken away from George III and called him a tyrant — would have put the ability to choose who would be president of the United States in the hands of one person,” Jacob said.
Pence told Trump “many, many times” that he would not reject electors, according to Short. Pence’s rejection of Electoral College votes, according to Luttig, had no legal foundation, and doing so “would have been comparable to a revolution inside a constitutional crisis in America.”
The committee displayed Eastman’s revisions to an earlier paper from before the election, in which he expressed his opposition to the vice president’s ability to reject electors. Nonetheless, he pressed Pence to do so, and Trump continued to encourage Pence to overturn the results, even on January 6th morning.
The next two hearings have been set for Tuesday, June 21 at 1 p.m. ET, and Thursday, June 23 at 1 p.m. ET, according to the House Jan. 6 committee.
These two hearings are the fourth and fifth of a total of seven scheduled for this month.
Hearing 4, June 21 is meant to detail Trump’s efforts to convince Vice President Mike Pence to halt the election count. Greg Jacob, the vice president’s former general lawyer, and J. Michael Luttig, a retired judge from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and informal adviser to Pence, will speak. Pence was apparently persuaded by Luttig that he could not overturn state results on his own. It begins at 1 p.m. ET.
Hearing 5 will take place on June 23 and will look at the then-alleged president’s efforts to sway state legislators and election authorities. Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, and Gabriel Sterling, one of his senior staffers, have been called to testify.
C-SPAN will cover the hearing with seven cameras as the pool for broadcast and cable media. Each network will offer commentary and reporting, with the exception of Fox News, which will not carry the proceedings in its full.
Next January 6 hearing will be updated periodically.
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