January 6 US Capitol panel examines Trump’s pressure on Pence

January 6 US Capitol panel examines Trump's pressure on Pence

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) – The congressional committee investigating last year’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol turns its attention on Thursday to then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn his defeat in the 2020 elections.

The House select committee has scheduled a hearing for 1 pm EDT (1700 GMT), discussing efforts by Trump and some of his associates to convince Pence to prevent formal congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential elections of November 2020.

Thousands of Trump supporters, many chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021, as Pence oversaw a session in which lawmakers gathered for what is normally a routine procedure to certify the election results. Some erected a makeshift gallows that they said was intended for Pence.

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The certification had become a focus for Trump, who saw it as a last chance to retain the presidency despite his defeat at the polls. His supporters flocked to Washington to join Trump, who had made repeated false claims that the election was stolen through widespread voter fraud. They stormed the Capitol, attacked police and sent Pence and lawmakers fleeing for their safety.

Trump’s responsibility for the January 6 riots is “incidental to his responsibility and accountability for his attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election from the American people,” the retired US Court of Appeals judge will tell the committee. USA J. Michael Luttig, according to written testimony obtained. by CNN. read more

“It is impressive that these arguments were conceived, let alone considered, by the President of the United States at this dangerous moment in history,” Luttig, who was an informal adviser to Pence, said in his statement.

Had Pence complied, according to Luttig’s testimony, the country would have been plunged into a “revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.”

Thursday’s hearing will also feature testimony from Greg Jacob, who served as Pence’s attorney. Videotaped testimony from Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, is also expected to be shown.

The hearing is the third of at least six public hearings planned this month in which the Democratic-led, nine-member committee will discuss the preliminary results of its nearly year-long investigation into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack.

Committee aides said the hearing will examine the emergence of a plan championed by Trump associates, including attorney John Eastman, under which Pence could unilaterally turn away certified voters from certain states where the results have been questioned. Pence refused to accept that theory.

Pence in February this year said that Trump, under whom he served as vice president for four years, was wrong in believing that Pence had the power to reverse the election result.

“I had no right to nullify the election,” Pence told an audience in Florida.

The hearing will discuss Trump’s pressure campaign on Pence, committee aides said on condition of anonymity. They promised new material documenting those efforts, with testimony from witnesses in the courtroom, as well as recorded testimony from some of the more than 1,000 statements and interviews.

CNN asked Democrat Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, about a New York Times report that Trump adviser John Eastman claimed knowledge of a “heated fight” between Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments. related to Trump’s efforts to nullify the election. .

“We want to find out if that’s true,” Raskin said. “To determine if, you know, the same people who were back channeling with the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the 3 Percenters and the domestic violent extremist movement also had a back channel with the Supreme Court of the United States of America “. America.”

The groups Raskin mentioned are far-right organizations.

The committee intends to put together a timeline for Pence Day on Jan. 6, which could detail the contacts with Trump and Secret Service agents that led the vice president to safety as the crowd threatened him.

The attack on the Capitol delayed the certification of the elections for hours, injured more than 140 police officers and caused several deaths. More than 840 people have been arrested and charged so far.

The attack marked the only time in US history that power was not passed peacefully from one president to another.

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Information from Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan; edited by Andy Sullivan, Will Dunham and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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