Trump was told Pence rejecting the election results was illegal — but he kept pressuring him to do it anyway
It culminated in Trump calling Pence a "wimp" and "pussy" during a phone call just before the insurrection.
Thanks for checking out this edition of Public Notice. This is it for me this week but I’ll be back with more Monday. Cheers — Aaron
On January 4, 2021, John Eastman admitted in front of then-President Trump that then-Vice President Mike Pence rejecting electoral votes on January 6 would violate the law. Trump then went to Georgia that very same night and delivered a speech pressuring Pence to do it anyway.
Back at the White House the next day, Trump helped dictate a statement in which he falsely claimed he and Pence were in “total agreement” that the vice president had the power to affect the election outcome on January 6, when in fact Pence wasn’t on that wavelength at all.
And when reality finally set in on the morning of January 6 that Pence wasn’t going to succumb to the pressure campaign, Trump exploded on his vice president during a phone call, calling him a “wimp” and a “pussy.”
Using clips of depositions of a range of former Trump administration and campaign officials, this timeline of events was established by the January 6 committee during its third hearing on Thursday — one that focused on how Trump, with significant help from Eastman, forged ahead with a pressure campaign that pretty much everyone around them advised was illegal, unethical, and an overall terrible idea. (You can read my coverage of the first hearing here and the second here.)
One of the stars of Thursday’s hearing was Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Pence, who in the days leading up to January 6 told Eastman over and over and over again that his ideas about Pence sending the election results in states Trump lost back to GOP-controlled legislatures were unlawful and didn’t have the vice president’s support.
Stunningly, the hearing revealed that Eastman’s pressure campaign continued even after the Capitol had been ransacked on January 6. While Pence was sheltering in the Capitol that day, Jacob sent Eastman an email telling him that “thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege.” Eastman, echoing Trump, replied defiantly by saying, “the siege is because you and your boss did not do what was necessary.”
But even after that heated exchange, later that same night Eastman sent Jacob another email imploring him to consider “one more relatively minor violation” of the Electoral Count Act — a request Pence himself eventually rejected as “rubber room stuff.”
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