Pence told Trump he could not reject votes


WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to single-handedly reject electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, as former President Donald Trump pressured him to do, will be the subject of the Thursday House hearing investigating the Capitol attack.

The latest: 

  • 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.
  • Federal judge: Trump’s order would have been ‘tantamount to revolution’: Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig told the Jan. 6 Committee that had Pence obeyed orders from Trump on Jan. 6, declaring Trump the presidential election winner, it would have “plunged America” into what he says would’ve been “tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis.”
  • 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.

What to expect out of today’s hearing:Trump raised millions to fight election fraud before Jan. 6. Here’s how that money was spent.

Former Vice President Mike Pence in a video during the opening public hearing of the committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol. After a year-long investigation, the committee will hold eight public hearings to reveal their findings.

Members of Congress, former Pence staffer among those watching in hearing room 

Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas are among the members of Congress watching the hearing in the Cannon Caucus room today. 

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, and D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone also watched from the row of seats behind the witnesses. Sandra Garza, the longtime partner of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick – who suffered two strokes and died after Jan. 6 – also sat with the officers. 


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