Former Pence chief counsel told Jan. 6 committee that Trump lawyer John Eastman knew Jan. 6 scheme was illegal

In testimony on July 16, 2022, Greg Jacob, former chief counsel to then-Vice President Mike Pence, told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol that former President Donald Trump’s attorney John Eastman knew that his plan for the vice president to reject electors sent from certain states violated the Electoral Count Act and was likely to lose if it came before the Supreme Court.

Video Transcript

PETE AGUILAR: I know you won't discuss the direct conversations between the president and the vice president. So rather than asking you what the vice president said in that meeting, I'll ask you a more general question. Did the vice president ever waver in his position that he could not unilaterally decide which electors to accept?

GREG JACOB: The vice president never budged from the position that I have described as his first instinct, which was that it just made no sense, from everything that he knew and had studied about our Constitution, that one person would have that kind of authority.

PETE AGUILAR: And did the vice president ever waver in his position that he could not delay certification and send it back to the states?

GREG JACOB: No, he did not.

PETE AGUILAR: Did Dr. Eastman admit in front of the president that his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act?

GREG JACOB: So during that meeting on the 4th, I think I raised the problem that both of Mr. Eastman's proposals would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. Mr. Eastman acknowledged that that was the case, that even what he viewed as the more politically palatable option would violate several provisions. But he thought that we could do so, because in his view, the Electoral Count Act was unconstitutional.

And when I raised concerns that that position would likely lose in court, his view was that the court simply wouldn't get involved. They would invoke the political question doctrine. And therefore, we could have some comfort proceeding with that path.


JOHN WOOD: But just to reiterate, he told you-- maybe this was in a later conversation, but he told you at some point that if, in fact, the issue ever got to the Supreme Court, his theory would lose 9-0, correct?

GREG JACOB: The next morning, starting around 11:00 or 11:30, we met for an hour and a half to two hours. And in that meeting, I've already described the text, structure, history conversation, but we started walking through all of that. And I said, John, basically, what you have is some texts that may be a little bit ambiguous, but then nothing else that would support it, including the fact that nobody would ever want that to be the rule. Wouldn't we lose 9 to 0 in the Supreme Court? And again, he initially started, well, maybe you'd only lose 7 to 2, but ultimately acknowledged that, no, we would lose 9-0. No judge would support his argument.