Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 committee plans four-part hearing on Mike Pence

Jan. 6 committee plays footage of former Vice President Mike Pence at a hearing.
Jan. 6 committee plays footage of former Vice President Mike Pence at a hearing. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee will break down a scheme to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors into four parts at its hearing on Thursday, committee aides say.

Why it matters: The committee has honed in on former President Trump's pressure campaign as a pivotal element of his broader efforts to overturn the 2020 election — and a potentially illegal one.

The details: The hearing will be led by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and the parts will be chronological, the aides said. They are:

  1. The emergence of a legal theory, led by law professor John Eastman, that Pence could unilaterally reject electors, and how that theory was rejected by Pence and the White House counsel's office.
  2. How Trump nevertheless continued to publicly lead a pressure campaign to get Pence to reject electors.
  3. The direct link between the pressure campaign and the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
  4. The fallout and the "ongoing threat to democracy" posed by people who continue to say the election should have been overturned.

Between the lines: The hearing may be key to making the case that Trump should be prosecuted for his actions around the election and Jan. 6.

  • The witnesses testifying publicly on Thursday, former Pence counsel Greg Jacob and former federal judge J. Michael Luttig, who advised Pence on the legal argument rejecting Eastman's theory, may speak to that.
  • The aides stressed that the hearings will go into how "advice was swirling around the White House ... that this scheme was illegal."
  • The committee has also released snippets of testimony from former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann in which he recounted advising Eastman the day after Jan. 6 to "get a great f---ing criminal defense lawyer."

What we're watching: The hearing will feature “new materials that documented that day, that documented the VP: where he was and what he was doing," the aides said.

  • That will likely include closed-door testimony from former Pence chief of staff Marc Short, who reportedly warned the Secret Service the day before Jan. 6 that Trump's worsening public posture toward Pence would lead to a security risk.
  • It could also include more clips of testimony from Trump allies already played in part during previous hearings, including Herschmann, Ivanka Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr.
  • The committee is also likely to at least reference potential legislative solutions, specifically changes to the Electoral Count Act, the aides said.
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