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1/6 panel examines Trump’s pressure on Pence to reject the election

WASHINGTONThe 1/6 Committee will rush into Donald Trump’s last-ditch effort to salvage the 2020 election through pressure Vice President Mike Pence reject the vote count — a highly unusual and potentially illegal strategy which was set in motion beforehand the riots in the US Capitol.

With two live witnesses Thursday, the House panel aims to show how Trump’s false claims of a fraudulent election led him to seek alternatives as courts dismissed dozens of lawsuits against the vote.

Trump agreed the obscure plan of conservative law professor John Eastman and launched a public and private pressure campaign on Pence days before the vice president was scheduled to chair the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to confirm Joe Biden’s election victory. A The federal judge has said it is “more likely than not” that Trump committed crimes about the scheme.

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“The illegality of the plan was evident,” the panel said Jan. 6 in a Trials against Eastman.

The committee will hear from Greg Jacob, the vice president’s attorney, who fought off Eastman’s ideas for Pence to carry out the plan; and retired federal judge Michael Luttig, who called Eastman’s plan, his former court clerk, “wrong at every turn.”

Thursday’s session is also expected to unveil new evidence of the danger Pence faced that day, when mobs stormed the Capitol shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” with a gallows on the Capitol grounds, when the vice president went into hiding with senators. Nine people died in the riots and their aftermath.

The session is expected to show how Trump’s pressure on Pence “directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol” and how Eastman’s strategy poses a “grave threat” to democracy, according to a committee aide who insisted on anonymity. Listen to discuss what is to come.

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Before the hearing, Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, said his boss was determined to remain at the Capitol that night and finish work, despite the threats.

“He knew it was his job to stay at his post,” Short told CNN on Wednesday.

Short said Pence didn’t want the world to see the vice president exit the Capitol when “a hallmark of democracy” is under siege.

“He felt it was important that he stay there and make sure the work of the American people is done that night,” said Short, who testified before the committee for eight hours but has yet to appear live as a witness.

The panel is convening for a third hearing this month after a blockbuster prime-time launch followed by logistical setbacks in recent days. Monday’s key witness, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, abruptly declined to appear in person because his wife was in labor with their child. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing of Justice Department witnesses trying to convince Trump that his allegations of voter fraud were simply not true has been postponed.

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Nonetheless, the panel’s year-long investigation paints a publicly gripping account of Trump’s final weeks in office, when the defeated president persisted in the “big lie” of a rigged election, even as those around him — his family, his top aides, the highest levels of government — said him that he simply lost the election.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who resigned in late 2020 rather than being part of Trump’s plans, previously testified that the president would “far from reality” if he believed the lies He said he told the president his allegations of voter fraud were “bull–“.

Using 1,000 interviews and reams of 140,000 documents, the committee connects the dots and shows how Trump’s false claims of voter fraud became a rallying cry when he called thousands of Americans to a Jan. 6 rally in Washington and then sent them to Capitol Hill ” fight like hell” for his presidency.

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More than 800 people were arrested at the Capitol Siege, and the panel is considering referring a criminal complaint against Trump to the Justice Department. No president or former president has ever been indicted by the Justice Department, and Attorney General Merrick Garland said he and his team are following the process in Congress.

For now, the panel is moving forward with its hearings, with more scheduled for next week.

Eastman’s plan will be unveiled on Thursday, which would require states to send alternate voter rolls from the five or seven states Trump has disputed, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With competing plans for Trump or Biden, Pence would be forced to reject them and hand them back to the states according to the plan to solve the problem.

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Pence opposed the plan, believing the founding fathers had not left one person, the vice president, to decide the outcome, Jacob told the panel in previous statements. Jacob said the idea was “completely made up,” against some 130 years of precedent in American history.

The committee will address the role of extremist groups and others who have responded to Trump’s call to Washington in upcoming hearings. Leaders and others from the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys face off rarely charges of sedition about their role in the attack on the Capitol.

Several members of Congress are also under scrutiny, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., who the committee has asked for an interview to discuss a tour of the Capitol he gave to a group of the day before the attack people through basement tunnels.

The panel is also investigating several candidates for elected office, including the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, who was among the rioters.

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The panel, which is expected to issue a final report on its findings later this year, intends its work to set a record for the history of the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. For the country combined, the April 6 attack on the Capitol appears to have been January to have divided many Americans. Congress fragmented over the formation of the committee, which most Republicans opposed.

The two Republicans on the panel, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger were shunned by the GOP for their work with the Democrats, who have been leading the investigation into Trump and his role in the Capitol attack.

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Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Washington and Farnoush Amiri in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/16/16-panel-probes-trump-pressure-on-pence-to-reject-election/ 1/6 panel examines Trump’s pressure on Pence to reject the election

Sarah Y. Kim

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