WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s scheme to overthrow democracy so he could stay in power has endangered Mike Pence’s life, as Trump’s social media attack on the vice president has already disrupted the Capitol, further fueled, the House Committee set out on January 6th. Thursday, including the revelation that the pro-Trump Proud Boys group was prepared to assassinate Pence on that day.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said Pence himself explained in a recent speech that it is “un-American” to do what Trump wants.
“Mike Pence said no. He withstood the pressure. He knew it was illegal. “He knew it was wrong,” said Thompson.
The pressure on Pence, which Trump has applied for weeks in both private and public spheres, continued even on January 6, with a late-morning call that Trump began.
According to testimony released Thursday, the call “got heated,” with one former Trump assistant telling investigators he heard Trump call Pence “a sniff” and say he had five years earlier. made the wrong decision “when he chose Pence as his candidate. measurement. An aide to daughter Ivanka Trump said she was upset because Trump called Pence “the P” word.
Just three hours later, after Pence publicly announced he would not do as Trump wanted, Trump tweeted an attack on Pence, claiming the vice president “did not have the courage” to do what was necessary.
“Donald Trump has turned the mob on him,” Thompson said.
The committee revealed evidence from the Justice Department’s investigation into the Proud Boys extremist group that a witness swore that “they would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance.”
As the panel did in the other two hearings last week, it shared evidence from Trump’s own inner circle to show how damning Trump’s actions were in the weeks before the Capitol attack and on that day itself.
On Thursday, it came from Greg Jacob, Pence’s former lawyer at the White House who testified in person, and from former Pence chief of staff Marc Short, who gave video testimony.
Also appearing in person was J. Michael Luttig, the retired federal appeals judge who assisted him at Pence’s request with a statement released since Trump was still speaking at his pre-uprising rally near the White House on January 6. .
Luttig told the committee that if Pence had “obeyed his president’s orders, it would have thrown the country into the first real constitutional crisis since its inception. “That statement by Donald Trump as the next president would have plunged America into what I believe would be tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis,” Luttig testified Thursday.
Integral to Trump’s plan was the list of false, pro-Trump voters who began organizing Trump’s campaign not long after his loss was confirmed. These groups met on December 14, 2020, the day of the Electoral College vote, in seven states won by Joe Biden to send fraudulent Trump ballot papers to Washington, DC
The strategy was that Pence, who has before him a ‘competitive list’ of voters from these states, would invalidate them all, which would leave Trump with a majority of votes from the remaining states – which would allow Pence to give Trump a second term. to award. Alternatively, Pence could return the ballots to the states, where GOP-controlled lawmakers would ignore the popular votes in those states and declare Trump the winner.
That theory was driven by a group of pro-Trump lawyers, led by John Eastman, who pushed Pence to act unilaterally.
Jacob, who had an extensive argument with Eastman on the subject, said his own research on the Constitution and the 1887 Electoral Act made it clear that the drafters of the Constitution, who had recently broken away from a tyrannical King of England, would not have placed such power in the hands of the Vice President.
“There was no way they would have left it in the hands of one person to determine who would be the president of the United States,” Jacob testified Thursday.
Luttig said Eastman was simply wrong. “There was absolutely no basis in the Constitution or laws of the United States for the theory put forward by Mr. Eastman was not advocated. None, ”he said.
Pence in any case refused to go along with the scheme and in the days before January 6 enlisted the help of Luttig, a longtime icon in conservative legal circles considered by former President George W for the U.S. Supreme Court. Bush.
Luttig posted on January 5th a series of tweets explains why Pence had no authority to do what Trump demanded. “The Constitution does not empower the vice-president to change the votes cast in any way, either by rejecting certain of them or otherwise,” Luttig wrote.
Pence’s team then quoted that Twitter thread in the letter he released to Congress and the public at the start of the January 6 certification ceremony.
The committee revealed Thursday that Eastman, in the last days of Trump’s term in office, has asked Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani for pardon. “I have decided I should be on the waiver list, if it is still in the works,” reads an email displayed by the committee.
Committee member Peter Aguilar, a California Democrat, then showed video of Eastman repeatedly demanding the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in his statement before committee investigators. “Dr. Eastman pleaded the fifth 100 times,” Aguilar said.
The bipartisan committee is almost halfway through a series of public hearings meant to explain Trump’s role in inciting anger among his millions of followers after his election loss and then inviting them to Washington, DC with the express aim of killing Pence and intimidate lawmakers to allow him to remain in power anyway.
Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections that refused to hand over power peacefully. He sparked the January 6 Capitol riot – a last-ditch attempt to stay in office – which killed five people, including one police officer, injured another 140 officers and led to four police suicides.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly talking about running for the presidency again in 2024.