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As the House Select Committee meets in its third public hearing into what exactly transpired leading up to and on January 6, 2021, today the role of former Vice President Mike Pence was under microscope.
John Eastman, a once-obscure legal scholar was vaulted into former President Donald Trump’s inner circle ahead of the Capitol riot by pushing dubious legal strategies to keep Trump in office.
In deposition to the Jan. 6 Committee, Eastman pled the fifth 100 times and sought Presidential pardon.
The hearings opened with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) Chairman of the Committee providing remarks regarding the 45th President’s attempts to manipulate the result of the 2020 election by pressuring his VP to refuse to count electoral votes.
Trump, believing Eastman’s unfounded claims, began to encourage his VP to overturn the votes.
A clip was used of Mike Pence, post Jan. 6, defending his position not to do so, saying:
President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly there is no idea more unAmerican than the notion that any one person can choose the American President.”
Once Trump publicly encouraged Pence to not count the electoral college votes on the morning of Jan. 6, shortly after, video was utilized depicting the insurrectionists marching through DC rumoring about former VP Pence, one man even exclaiming, “if Pence caved, we’re gonna drag motherf–kers across the streets!”
Shortly after, former federal judge J. Michael Luttig, who advised VP Pence, stated the riot was “tantamount to a revolution” and repeatedly reinforced Pence had no legal recourse to challenge the 2020 election.
It was even discovered the Trump’s former lawyer, Rudy Guianni, stated that no one, including Dr. Eastman, never really believed his traitorous idea would work. It was revealed that John Eastman, in a 2020 draft letter, defended the complete opposite public argument he made on the ellipse of Jan. 6, when he shouted his directives to the riled up crowd, “All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is… he let the legislators in the states look into this so we get to the bottom of it and the American people know if whether we have control of our government or not.”
USA TODAY summarizes today’s events further:
- Pence: electoral count rejection ‘illegal’: Marc Short, chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, says Pence told former President Donald Trump “many times” that any plan to have Pence reject electoral votes was illegal.
- The vice president ‘cannot possibly’ choose the president: Greg Jacob, counsel to Pence, said that while the Electoral Count Act includes “ambiguous” text, “common sense and structure would tell you” that it “cannot possibly be” that a vice president would have the authority to choose the U.S. president under the Constitution.
- Hannity ‘very worried: ‘Fox News’ Sean Hannity told White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in text messages of his concerns around Jan. 6. On Dec. 31, he wrote, “I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.” And on Jan. 5, he texted that he was “very worried about the next 48 hours.”
- An intense effort to lean on Pence: Rep. Pete Aguilar said the Jan. 6 committee found that by Jan. 4, Trump had “engaged in a quote multi-week campaign to pressure the Vice President to decide the outcome of the election.” It involved private conversations, a meeting with Congress and tweets from the president.
- Trump lawyer John Eastman’s strategy: Eastman “acknowledged” that his proposals would violate provisions of the Electoral Count Act, Pence’s former legal counsel Greg Jacob said, adding that Eastman thought this was OK because he viewed the act as unconstitutional.
- ‘Jump-ball situation’: Jacob, in describing the standoff that could arise under Eastman’s plans for rejecting electors – assuming courts did not get involved – said result could been an “unprecedented constitutional jump-ball situation” that “might well then have to be decided in the streets.”
- Pence refused to be seen fleeing Capitol: After being taken to a secure location, Secret Service asked Pence to get in a car. The vice president refused. Jacob said Pence did not want to take any chance that “the world would see the vice president of the United States fleeing the United States Capitol. He was determined that we would complete the work” of certifying the election.