Donald Trump tried to pressure Mike Pence to overturn election, panel hears

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Donald Trump tried to pressure Mike Pence to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat despite being repeatedly told he had no authority to do so, a congressional panel heard on Thursday.

Aides to the former vice president were speaking to the January 6 select committee, which is seeking to establish if Mr Trump’s election fraud claims directly led to an attack on the US Capitol.

During the session, Mr Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short, said that his boss told the former president “many times” that he did not have the authority to reject the result.

A former top adviser to Mr Pence, Gregory Jacob, said his boss “never budged” despite mounting pressure from Mr Trump that he had the power to stop the certification process, which the vice president presides over, on January 6.

He said that Mr Pence was adamant that “it just made no sense” that one man would be able to change the outcome of the presidential election.

Mr Jacob also testified that former Trump campaign attorney John Eastman admitted in front of the former president two days before the insurrection that his plan to have Mr Pence halt the procedure would break the law.

Michael Lutting, an informal adviser to Mr Trump, also told the hearing that Mr Eastman was incorrect in his assessment that Mr Pence could reject state electors.

“It is breathtaking that these arguments even were conceived, let alone entertained by the president of the United States at that perilous moment in history,” he said.

The committee played chilling video showing some Trump supporters in the crowds of thousands of people who descended on the Capitol baying for Mr Pence to be pulled out of the building or hanged.

Committee members also said that Mr Trump’s comments against Mr Pence fueled their anger.

“You’ll also hear that the president knew there was a violent mob at the Capitol when he tweeted at 2:24 pm that the vice president did not have the quote, ‘courage’ to do what needed to be done,” said Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar.

On January 6 last year, Trump supporters flocked to Washington to rally with the former Republican president, who had made repeated false claims that the election was stolen through widespread voting fraud.

They stormed the Capitol, attacked police and sent Mr Pence and lawmakers fleeing for their safety.

Four people died the day of the attack, one fatally shot by police and the others of natural causes.

Some 140 police officers were injured, and one died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.

Nearly 850 people have been arrested for crimes related to the riot, including more than 250 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

In February, Mr Pence said that his former boss, under whom he served as vice president for four years, was wrong to believe that he had the power to overturn the election result.

“I had no right to overturn the election,” he said.

The Democratic-led January 6 select committee is trying to get a definitive account of the US Capitol riot and events surrounding it.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting