Plan for Pence to reject electors 'nuts,' 'crazy', says Jan. 6 panel

Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. File

Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. File | Photo Credit: AP

Donald Trump's closest advisers viewed his last-ditch efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject the tally of state electors and overturn the 2020 election as “nuts,” “crazy” and even likely incite riots, witnesses revealed in stark testimony to the Jan 6 committee on Thursday.

Gripping new evidence also detailed how the mob that stormed the Capitol that day came within 40 feet of where Mr. Pence and his team were sheltering, highlighting the danger Mr. Trump had put him in.

With live testimony, including from Mr. Pence's counsel, and other evidence from its yearlong investigation the panel is dissecting as unlawful and unconstitutional the plan from conservative lawyer John Eastman to reverse Joe Biden's election victory. The pressure Mr. Trump put on Mr. Pence, including at a Jan. 6 rally, led directly to the insurrection at the Capitol, the panel said.

“Are you out of your effing mind?” said Eric Herschmann, a lawyer advising Mr. Trump, told Mr. Eastman in recorded testimony shown at the hearing.

“You're going to turn around and tell 78-plus million people in this country that your theory is this is how you're going to invalidate their votes?” Mr. Herschmann said. He warned: “You're going to cause riots in the streets.”

A text message from Fox News' Sean Hannity to Mr. Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows about the plan in the run-up to Jan. 6 read: "I'm very worried about the next 48 hours."

Mr. Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said those around Mr. Trump called it “crazy.”

The panel opened its third hearing this month demonstrating that Mr. Trump's false claims of a fraudulent election left him grasping for alternatives as courts turned back dozens of lawsuits challenging the vote.

Mr. Trump latched onto Mr. Eastman's highly unusual plan to defy historical precedent of the Electoral Count Act, and started pressuring Mr. Pence in public and private as the vice president was to preside over the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to certify Mr. Biden's election.

The committee has said the plan was illegal, and a federal judge has said it is “more likely than not” Mr. Trump committed crimes in his attempt to stop the certification.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 4:34:05 am |