WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s last-gap plan to overturn democracy so he can stay in power put the lives of Mike Pence and his family at risk as Trump’s social media attack on the vice president further fueled the crowd that had previously The same Capitol, House was disbanded on Jan. 6 The committee has started detailing from Thursday.
Committee chairman Benny Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said Pence himself explained in a recent speech that it was “un-American” to do what Trump wanted.
“Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong,” Thompson said.
The pressure on Pence, which Trump had been applying for weeks in both private and public, continued on January 6, starting with a late morning phone call by Trump.
The call got “heated,” according to testimony revealed Thursday, with a former Trump aide telling investigators he heard Trump calling Pence “a wimp” and saying he made a “wrong decision” five years ago. When he chose Pence as his running mate. friend. Ivanka Trump, a daughter’s aide, said she was upset because Trump had called Pence the ‘P’ word.
Only three hours later, when Pence publicly announced that he would not do as Trump wanted, Trump tweeted an attack on Pence, claiming that the vice president “didn’t have the guts” to do what was necessary. For.
“Donald Trump made the crowd turn on him,” Thompson said.
The committee uncovered evidence from a Justice Department investigation into the Trump Proud Boys extremist group that a witness swore “they would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance.”
As has happened at the other two hearings over the past week, the panel is sharing testimony from Trump’s own inner circle, to show just how damaging Trump’s actions were in the weeks before the Capitol attack and on that day itself.
On Thursday, it’s coming from Greg Jacob, Pence’s former attorney at the White House, who is testifying in person, and Pence’s former chief of staff Mark Short, who provided videotaped testimony.
Also appearing in person, retired federal appellate judge J. Michael Lutig, who, at Pence’s request, helped him with a statement that was issued as Trump was still speaking at his pre-rebellion rally near the White House on January 6. ,
Lutig told the committee that if Pence had “followed the orders of his president,” it would have plunged the country into the first true constitutional crisis since its inception. “The announcement of Donald Trump as the next president would have equated America with a revolution within a constitutional crisis,” Luttig testified Thursday.
Integral to Trump’s plan were the slate of fake, pro-Trump voters that Trump’s campaign began to organize not long after his loss was confirmed. These groups met in seven states, the day of the Electoral College vote on December 14, 2020, won by Joe Biden, to send fraudulent Trump ballots to Washington, D.C.
The strategy was for Pence, before a “competitive slate” of voters in these states, to invalidate them all, leaving Trump with the majority of the electoral votes in the remaining states—which would let Pence give Trump a second term. Alternatively, Pence could send the ballots back to states where the GOP-controlled legislature would override the popular vote in those states and declare Trump the winner.
That theory was put forward by a group of pro-Trump lawyers led by John Eastman, who were pressuring Pence to act unilaterally.
Jacob, who had been conducting an extended argument with Eastman on the subject, said that his own research into the Constitution and the Electoral Counting Act of 1887 made it clear that the draft of the Constitution, a recent tyrant of England were freed from the king. Such power has not been placed in the hands of the Vice President.
“There was no way they could put it in the hands of one person to determine who would be President of the United States,” Jacob testified Thursday.
Lutig said that Eastman was absolutely wrong. “There was no basis in the Constitution or laws of the United States of America for the doctrine propounded by Mr. Eastman. None,” he said.
Pence, in any event, refused to go along with the plan, and in the days leading up to January 6 enlisted the help of Luttig, a longtime icon in conservative legal circles, who was called upon by former President George W. was considered for court. , bush.
Posted by Lutig on Jan 5 series of tweets Explaining why Pence didn’t have the authority to do what Trump was demanding. “The Constitution does not authorize the Vice-President to alter in any way the votes cast, either by nullifying some of them or otherwise,” Luttig wrote.
Pence’s team cited that Twitter thread in a letter issued to Congress and the public at the start of the certification ceremony on January 6.
The bipartisan committee is about halfway through a series of public hearings aimed at angering Trump’s role among millions of his followers following his election loss and then intimidating Pence and lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Invite in. He remains in power anyway.
Trump, despite losing 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries to refuse to hand over power peacefully. He committed the Capitol riot on January 6 – a final attempt to remain in office – in which five including one police officer were killed, 140 other officers were injured and four police committed suicide.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly talking about running for president again in 2024.