Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mike Pence former advisers to appear before Jan. 6 committee Thursday

Two former advisers to Mike Pence are scheduled to appear before the House Jan. 6 committee on Thursday as the panel turns its attention to then-President Trump’s efforts to pressure the vice president to overturn the election.

The committee confirmed Wednesday that J. Michael Luttig and Greg Jacob, who both advised Mr. Pence to reject the president’s calls to delay the electoral count or overturn the election results, would appear for the committee’s third hearing in a series of public proceedings scheduled for this month.

Committee aides said Thursday’s hearing would focus on Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on the vice president in the lead-up to election certification on Jan. 6, 2021, which the committee says directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol.

In a letter to Congress on the day of the certification, Mr. Pence denied that he had the powers as vice president to overturn the election, despite pressure from Mr. Trump to dismiss the Electoral College votes.

Mr. Trump persisted in pressuring Mr. Pence to “stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country” at the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse just before thousands of Mr. Trump’s supporters made their way to the Capitol to protest the certification.

Some of Mr. Trump’s supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” as they converged on the Capitol, where the vice president was overseeing the certification.

“We will see new materials that documented that day, that documented the vice president, where he was and what he was doing,” aides said.

Aides said the panel also intends to show that there is an ongoing threat to democracy rooted in the former president’s attempts to change the result of the 2020 election.

Thursday’s hearing, like the others in the series, will feature a mix of live testimony and recordings of depositions given to the committee throughout its investigation.

Committee Vice Chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, previewed a video clip the committee plans to show in Thursday’s hearing in which former White House lawyer Eric Herschman tells the committee in a recorded deposition that he told John Eastman, a lawyer who pushed claims of election fraud that he would need a to “get a great effing criminal defense lawyer.”

The panel began its series of public hearings with a prime-time broadcast last Thursday to set up its case that Mr. Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.

In its second hearing on Monday, several former administration officials, campaign insiders and election experts testified to the committee that they attempted to dissuade Mr. Trump from further pursuing the claims.

The panel also honed in on the former president’s massive political war chest, saying he duped donors into handing over millions in campaign contributions based on his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

“Not only was there the big lie, there was ‘the big rip-off,’” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat and member of the committee, said at the conclusion of Monday’s hearing.

Ms. Lofgren said donors were told their contributions would be used to fund Mr. Trump’s legal fights against the election but were instead funneled into his Save America PAC. 

Mr. Trump has called the committee a “kangaroo court” and said the Democrats’ only goal in holding the hearings was to prevent him from seeking a second term in 2024.

“Democrats created the narrative of January 6th to detract from the much larger and more important truth that the 2020 Election was Rigged and Stolen,” Mr. Trump said in a 12-page statement Monday. “Politicians from both parties, but mostly the Democrats, worked in conjunction with corporate elitists to strip Americans of our right to elect our own leaders. To do so, corrupt officials violated their own state laws.”

Tuesday, the committee abruptly postponed its hearing scheduled for Wednesday, during which the panel was expected to hear from several former acting attorneys general and focus on Mr. Trump’s plan to replace former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a Department of Justice official, in the days following the election.

The committee has not offered additional details about when the postponed hearing will take place.

The committee also has hearings scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday of next week.

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