Trump’s Pence pressure campaign focused today on the Jan. 6 committee

The January 6 congressional committee immersed itself Thursday afternoon in Donald Trump’s latest effort to save the 2020 election by pressuring his Vice President Mike Pence to reject the election count, a very unusual and potentially illegal strategy. which was launched on the eve of the U.S. Capitol riot.

With two live witnesses on Thursday, the House panel intends to show how Trump’s false allegations of a fraudulent election led him to look for alternatives while the courts overturned dozens of lawsuits challenging the vote.

Trump took the dark plan of Conservative law professor John Eastman and launched a public and private lobbying campaign in the Pence days before the vice president chaired the January 6 joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. A federal judge has said it is “more likely than not” that Trump has committed crimes under the scheme.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, opened the hearing by quoting Pence’s own words that “there is almost no more anti-American idea” than what was being asked of him: to reject the vote.

“Trump wanted Mike Pence to do something that no other vice president has ever done,” Thompson said. “Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe.”

Vice President Mike Pence presides over the final ballot certification of the Electoral College in the early hours of January 7, 2021. Pence remained at the Capitol as the siege unfolded, alerting the White House and Pentagon to the dangers, he has heard. the House Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite / The Associated Press)

By rejecting Trump’s demands, Pence “did his duty,” said the court’s vice president, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.

The committee presented the exciting, albeit complicated, days before the deadly January 6 uprising as the defeated Trump stepped up his efforts to turn around lengthy election procedures, endangering his own vice president as the crowd rallied. he was heading for the Capitol.

The committee is listening to Greg Jacob, the vice president’s attorney, who championed Eastman’s ideas for Pence to carry out the plan; and retired federal judge Michael Luttig, who called the plan of Eastman, his former legal secretary, “wrong at every step.”

Jacob said Pence summoned him to his West Wing office in early December 2020 to seek clarity on the vice president’s role in certifying election results. He said Pence made it clear that the founding fathers did not intend to empower anyone, including anyone running for office, to affect the outcome of the election.

Pence never hesitated from that initial view, Jacob said.

Attorney John Eastman gestures as he speaks alongside Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, at a rally in Washington on January 6, 2021, which preceded the Capitol riot. (Jim Bourg / Reuters)

Luttig said that if Pence had obeyed Trump’s orders, obviously against the law, Donald Trump’s “declaration as the next president” would have plunged America into what I believe would be the equivalent of a revolution in a constitutional crisis in the United States. United “.

The panel seeks to show that Trump’s pressure on Pence directly contributed to the attack on the United States Capitol.

“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” the committee said in a lawsuit against Eastman.

With a graphic video, viewers watched what happened when rioters outside the Capitol chanted “Hang Mike Pence” and vomited vulgarities as they stormed the building. Thursday’s session was expected to reveal new evidence of the danger Pence faced with a makeshift gallows on Capitol grounds while the vice president hid with other senators.

The wife of the Supreme Court judge will be summoned for an interview

Thompson also said Thursday that the panel will ask Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, for an interview amid revelations of conservative activist communications with people in orbit of Trump before the attack. He did not specify a schedule for this.

“It’s time to dump her and move on,” Thompson told reporters before the hearing.

Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thompson is seen with her husband, Supreme Court Associate Judge Clarence Thomas, left, in October 2021. The committee investigating the January 6 riot says he will invite her to an interview . (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Trump, the allies proposed alternative voters

Along with hundreds of members of Congress that day, Pence was forced to seek security in the uncertain hours after the attack began, although he is said to have rejected the option of being expelled from the compound by the Service. Secret.

As the committee joked in recorded interviews last week, Pence, not Trump, contacted the Pentagon for reinforcements to quell the uprising. After the chaos subsided, Pence reconvened the ceremonial countdown process and officially certified Biden’s victory and Trump’s defeat shortly after 3:40 a.m. on Jan. 7.

The panel reunited for a third day of hearings this month after a big box office start last week.

With 1,000 interviews and 140,000 documents, the committee is illustrating how Trump’s false allegations of election fraud turned into a battle cry for thousands of Americans to flock to Washington to attend a May 6 rally. January and then go down to Capitol Hill to “fight like hell.” “for his presidency.

Four people who attended the riot were killed: one, a protester who was part of the mob that forcibly entered the Capitol, was shot by a Capitol police officer; two people died of heart failure; and one person died from an amphetamine overdose. A Capitol police officer who confronted the mutineers died a day later after suffering two blows.

TARGET | Trump’s attorney general rejects other highlights from the last session:

The Jan. 6 committee shatters Trump’s stolen election theory

The U.S. Congress committee investigating the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot used its second hearing to try to dismantle former President Donald Trump’s theory that the 2020 election was stolen.

More than 800 people have been arrested in connection with the siege of the Capitol, while members of extremist groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are facing infrequent allegations of sedition.

Two former White House aides under Trump, Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, are facing criminal proceedings to defy the January 6 committee summonses.

Report scheduled for the end of the year

The House committee is expected to issue a report on its overall findings before the end of the year.

The November midterm elections could see the chamber fall under Republican control, in which case investigations into January 6 would be almost certain to cease.

Trump’s actions in the election and its aftermath are also being scrutinized elsewhere.

Georgia officials are currently organizing a special grand jury to study attempts by Trump and his White House to pressure state officials to overturn Biden’s victory in that state, while Navarro also said recently that he received a U.S. Justice Department subpoena to appear before a grand federal jury, though the reasons are not entirely clear.

Trump, who was also ousted a week before his 2021 term expires for inciting the January 6 insurgency, remains a powerful force for the Republican Party. Several U.S. candidates for the primaries held this spring, including earlier this week, have echoed their claims about the 2020 election fraud.

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