Jan. 6 hearing told Trump knew plan to pressure Pence was illegal, went ahead anyway

·9 min read
Jan. 6 hearing told Trump knew plan to pressure Pence was illegal, went ahead anyway

The House's Jan. 6 committee held its third public hearing of the month, on Thursday, with the focus on the pressure campaign on then-Vice President Mike Pence.

The committee detailed the efforts of then-President Donald Trump and his allies before and on Jan. 6, 2021, to get Pence to reject electoral votes Congress was certifying -- as part of what it says was a plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election.


Latest Developments


Jun 16, 5:40 PM

Witness warns Trump allies 'executing a blueprint' to overturn 2024 election

Former federal judge Michael Luttig, in his closing comments before the committee, reiterated what he said in a New York Times op-ed in February -- that Trump and his allies were "a clear and present danger to democracy," warning that Trump or his "anointed successor" could succeed in 2024 in overturning those presidential election results where they failed in 2020.

"The former president and his allies are executing a blueprint for 2024, in open and plain view of the American public," Luttig told lawmakers.

"I don't speak those words lightly. I would have never spoken those words I ever in my life," he said. "Except that's what the former president and his allies are telling us."

Chairman Bennie Thompson thanked the witnesses for protecting the "foundation" of U.S. democracy and reiterated hit warning as well.

"There are now some who think the danger has passed. That even though there was violence and a corrupt attempt to overturn the presidential election, the system worked," the Mississippi Democrat said. "I look at it another way: Our system nearly failed, and our democratic foundation destroyed but for people like you."

PHOTO: A tweet from former President Donald Trump appears on a screen at the hearing where the House Select Committee investigates the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2022.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A tweet from former President Donald Trump appears on a screen at the hearing where the House Select Committee investigates the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


Jun 16, 4:14 PM

Chair teases tip line, exhibits available to public online

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., closing out Thursday's hearing, drew attention to the committee's website -- -- where the public can view the evidence presented in the public hearings and send tips to the committee as its investigation is ongoing.

"Despite how you may not think it's important, send us what you think," he said. "I thank those that sent us evidence, for their bravery and patriotism."

PHOTO: Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks as Rep. Pete Aguilar, Vice Chair Liz Cheney, listen, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing in Washington, June 16, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
PHOTO: Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks as Rep. Pete Aguilar, Vice Chair Liz Cheney, listen, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing in Washington, June 16, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)


Jun 16, 4:09 PM

Cheney previews next hearing

With searing new evidence, the committee on Thursday sought to draw a direct link between Trump's actions and the Capitol attack, which it maintained put Vice President Mike Pence's life at serious risk.

Vice Chair Liz Cheney, in her closing statement, previewed evidence still to come, promising information in their next hearing on Tuesday about Trump's efforts to apply pressure to Republican slate legislators, election officials and even federal officials to corrupt the electoral count vote.

PHOTO: An image of former President Donald Trump and his family is displayed on a screen at the hearing where the House Select Committee investigates the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: An image of former President Donald Trump and his family is displayed on a screen at the hearing where the House Select Committee investigates the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"We will examine the Trump team's determination to transmit material false electoral slates from multiple states to officials of the executive and legislative branches of our government," she said, and "the pressures put on state legislators to convene to reverse lawful election results."

After establishing Pence on Thursday as an "honorable man" who had the courage to carry out his constitutional duty on Jan. 6 despite a pressure campaign and threats to his life, Cheney ended by drawing a stark contrast with Trump.

“An honorable man receiving the information and advice that Mr. Trump received from his campaign experts and his staff, a man who loved his country more than himself would have conceded this election," she said. "Indeed, we know that a number of President Trump's closest aides urged him to do so."


Jun 16, 4:03 PM

Eastman emailed Rudy Giuliani to be on 'pardon list,' committee says

Trump-allied attorney John Eastman, in the days after Jan. 6, emailed Rudy Giuliani about a possible pardon.

"I've decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works," Eastman wrote to Giuliani, the committee showed.

Eastman wasn't pardoned and when he was was deposed by the House panel, he pleaded the fifth 100 times, Rep. Pete Aguilar noted.


Jun 16, 3:51 PM

Pence's life in danger as he hid for hours with rioters 40 feet away: Committee

Showing video footage of Secret Service agents rushing Pence down stairs in the Capitol, the committee said Pence was in hiding for four and a half hours, while, at times, rioters were just 40 feet away.

Greg Jacob, a former adviser to Pence who was with the vice president on Jan. 6 told the hearing room, "I could hear the din of the mob as we moved, but I don't think I was aware," when told how close they got.

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence is seen looking at a tweet by President Donald Trump on his phone in an underground parking garage of the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6, 2022,during a U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan 6 Attack hearing. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence is seen looking at a tweet by President Donald Trump on his phone in an underground parking garage of the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6, 2022,during a U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan 6 Attack hearing. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

"Approximately 40 feet, that's all there was, 40 feet between the vice president and the mob," said Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., telling Jacob, "Forty feet is the distance from me to you roughly."

"Make no mistake about the fact that the vice president's life was in danger," Aguilar said, arguing the "big lie" directly contributed to the Capitol attack and put Pence's life at serious risk. "A recent court filing by the Department of Justice explains that a confidential informant from the Proud Boys told the FBI that the Proud Boys would've killed Mike Pence, if given the chance."


Jun 16, 3:50 PM

Trump attorney pressured Pence to delay certification even after the riot, email shows

John Eastman, an attorney advising the Trump campaign, sent an email after the riot at the U.S. Capitol to once again pressure Pence to violate the Electoral Count Act, according to the committee's presentation Thursday.

“I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for ten days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations,” Eastman wrote to Pence adviser Greg Jacob at 11:44 p.m. that day.

Jacob said he relayed Eastman’s message to Pence, who responded that the email was “rubber room stuff.”

“What did you interpret that to mean?” Rep. Pete Aguilar asked Jacob.

Jacob replied he translated that to mean Pence was calling it “certifiably crazy.”

PHOTO: Greg Jacob, who was counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence, testifies as the House select committee investigates the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol during a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Greg Jacob, who was counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence, testifies as the House select committee investigates the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol during a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told the committee that on Jan. 7, 2021, after Pence certified Joe Biden's victory, Eastman called him to talk about a possible appeal in Georgia.

"I said to him, 'Are you out of your f------ mind?' I said, 'I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth for now: orderly transition," Herschmann recalled.


Jun 16, 4:39 PM

Trump aware of insurrection underway when he tweeted criticism at Pence: Committee

The committee displayed a slate of video testimony from those inside the White House and close to Trump to argue he was well aware of the violence underway on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 when he tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary" at 2:24 p.m.

Trump White House aide Sarah Matthews, in video testimony with the committee, recalled, "It felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that."

"It was clear that it is escalating, and escalating quickly," she said. "When the Mike Pence tweet was sent out, I remember us saying that that was the last thing that needed to be tweeted out. The situation was already bad."

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence is seen looking at a tweet by President Donald Trump on his phone in an underground parking garage of the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6, 2022,during a U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan 6 Attack hearing. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence is seen looking at a tweet by President Donald Trump on his phone in an underground parking garage of the U.S. Capitol complex on Jan. 6, 2022,during a U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan 6 Attack hearing. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
A Jan. 6, 2021 tweet from President Donald Trump regarding Vice President Mike Pence is seen on a screen during a hearing of the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
A Jan. 6, 2021 tweet from President Donald Trump regarding Vice President Mike Pence is seen on a screen during a hearing of the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier, Rep. Pete Aguilar noted that the Capitol building itself was breached at 2:13 p.m. As the attack continued, Trump tweeted to "stay peaceful" at 2:38 p.m., said "no violence" at 3:13 p.m., and finally, at 4:17, he tweeted a video that telling people to go home while also saying, "We love you," and repeating the false claim the election was stolen.


Jun 16, 3:24 PM

Witnesses recount for first time ‘heated’ Jan. 6 call between Trump, Pence: 'Wimp'

Ivanka Trump, former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and others told the committee in previously taped testimony what they heard when Trump called Pence from the Oval Office on Jan. 6.

“The conversation was pretty heated,” Ivanka Trump recalled.

Nicholas Luna, Trump’s former assistant, described entering the Oval Office at the time to deliver a note and hearing Trump say the word “wimp.”

“I remember hearing the word 'wimp',” Luna told the committee. “Either he called him a wimp, I don't remember if he said, ‘You are a wimp, you’ll be a wimp.’ Wimp is the word I remember.”

Gen. Keith Kellog, Pence’s national security adviser at the time, said in his deposition that Trump told Pence he wasn't "tough" enough. Ivanka's chief of staff, Julie Radford, told the committee that Ivanka said Trump called Pence "the p-word."


Jun 16, 3:10 PM

Committee says Trump's chief of staff discussed how plan was illegal

Committee members revealed evidence that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows knew -- or was at least telling other aides that he agreed with their view -- that Trump and his attorney John Eastman's plan to overturn the election was illegal and that Pence had no ability to reject electoral votes for Biden sent to Congress.

In his taped interview with the committee, Pence's chief of staff Marc Short told panel lawyers that that Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, said he agreed with Short and Pence that the vice president lacked such authority.

PHOTO: Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his Chief of Staff Marc Short are seen in a Jan. 4, 2021 photo, projected at the hearing where the House Select Committee investigates the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, June 16, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)
PHOTO: Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his Chief of Staff Marc Short are seen in a Jan. 4, 2021 photo, projected at the hearing where the House Select Committee investigates the Jan. 6 Attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, June 16, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)

"Did Mr. Meadows ever explicitly ... agree with you or say, 'Yeah, that makes sense'?" interviewers asked.

"I believe that Mark did agree," Short said. "But as I mentioned, I think Mark told so many people so many different things that it was not something that I would necessarily accept as ... resolved."

-ABC News' Benjamin Siegel


Jun 16, 3:04 PM

Pence’s chief of staff alerted Secret Service about VP's safety on Jan. 5

Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, said he grew worried about the vice president’s safety as the disagreement between Pence and Trump escalated in the days leading up to Jan. 6.

“The concern was for the vice president’s security, so I wanted to make sure the head of the vice president’s Secret Service was aware that likely, as these disputes became more public, that the president would lash out in some way,” Short said in his taped deposition.

Short called the Secret Service on Jan. 5, 2021.

“After the recess, we will hear that Marc Short’s concerns were justified,” Rep. Pete Anguilar said. “The vice president was in danger.”

Click here to read the rest of the blog.