Posts tagged with "Former VP Mike Pence"

January 6 Committee returns with another public hearing on Wednesday, September 28

September 27, 2022

“If he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.” That’s how Wyoming GOP Representative Liz Cheney framed the danger of another Donald Trump presidency—vowing on Saturday, “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee,” should he run again,” reports CNN.

Her pointed comments come ahead of what’s likely to be the final public hearing from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, before it releases its final report.

The 1 p.m. (EDT) start time on Wednesday is perhaps more calculated than meets the eye. Discussing the timing on CNN Sunday, Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren noted, “In the past, Fox News does play our hearings if the hearing is in the daytime.”

“So that’s a factor in reaching an audience that is not watching CNN,” the California Democrat added.

As Cheney’s fate last month showed, the committee is up against the clock. Neither she nor Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger—the only two Republicans on the panel—will be returning to Congress next year, when a possible House GOP majority could look much different

What will the committee present this week? Panel members are keeping this close to the chest.

“I think it’ll be potentially more sweeping than some of the other hearings, but it too will be in a very thematic—it will tell the story about a key element of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the election,” Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday.

The chairman of the committee, Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said last week, “We have substantial footage of what occurred that we haven’t used.”

Thompson also said there was “significant witness testimony that we haven’t used in other hearings,” calling it “an opportunity” to get it in front of the American people.

And, while Cheney said on Saturday she believes former Vice President Mike Pence has an “obligation” to speak with the committee, Lofgren was pessimistic on Sunday that the committee would hear from either the former President or former vice president.

“The vice president had said publicly that he thought he might want to come in, and so we were very encouraged by that. But since that time, his people have walked it back,” Lofgren said on CNN.

“And to be honest, given that select committees of this Congress—not just this select committee but all the select committees—exist only for the life of the Congress, if we were trying to get into a subpoena fight with either the former vice president or the former president, that litigation could not be concluded during the life of this Congress.”

One person who may be showing up for an interview in the coming weeks, though? Ginni Thomas. The House committee has come to an agreement with the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, CNN first reported last week.

Research contact: @CNN

Top January 6 committee members propose reforms to 1887 Electoral Count Act

September 21, 2022

Two senior members of the House’s January 6 select committee have introduced a bipartisan bill to reform the counting of presidential electoral votes to prevent another riot at the Capitol over disputed results, reports ABC News.

The Presidential Election Reform Act—from Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), and Zoe Lofgren (D-California)—targets some of the perceived nuances in 135-year-old Electoral Count Act that former President Donald Trump and his supporters attempted to exploit in order to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.

“Our proposal is intended to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote in a joint Wall Street Journal column last week.

The full House could vote on the proposal as early as Wednesday.

The revisions would reaffirm the vice president’s ceremonial role over the count, after then-Vice President Mike Pence was pressured by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, according to the legislative text and summary of the proposal obtained by ABC News.

The bill would make it more difficult for lawmakers to raise objections to electors from each state, by requiring at least one-third of the members from each chamber to support an objection, rather than one House member and a single senator.

It also would clarify ambiguities in the Electoral College process by requiring governors to transmit state results to Congress and prohibiting election officials from refusing to certify their state’s election results. In either case, the law would allow a presidential candidate to go to court to force compliance with the law.

The proposal would prevent state legislators from undoing the election results in their states—and require that elections be carried out under the state rules on the books on Election Day.

“The Constitution assigns an important duty to state legislatures, to determine the manner in which the states appoint their electors. But this shouldn’t be misread to allow state legislators to change the election rules retroactively to alter the outcome,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

In July, a bipartisan group of senators including Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Susan Collins (R-Maine)proposed their own reforms to the Electoral Count Act.

While their proposal also affirms the vice president’s limited role in proceedings, it sets a different threshold requirement for electoral challenges, among other differences.

Research contact: @abcnews

Justice Department objects to releasing affidavit used to search Trump’s home

August 17, 2022

On Monday, August 15, the Justice Department contested making public the affidavit used to justify the search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida—saying its release would “compromise future investigative steps” and “likely chill” cooperation with witnesses, reports The New York Times.

In a 13-page pleading, filed in a federal court in southern Florida in response to requests by The New York Times and other news organizations to make public the evidence included in the document, prosecutors suggested that the department has undertaken a broad, intensive inquiry into Trump’s handling of some of the most secret documents of the government after he left office.

The prosecutors acknowledged interviewing witnesses in connection with the investigation of. Trump’s retention of the material. They also wrote that releasing the document could compromise the continuing investigation.

“Disclosure of the government’s affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses,” prosecutors wrote. They added that releasing the affidavit could harm “other high-profile investigations,” as well.

One of the reasons proposed by the government for not releasing the affidavit was to protect the identities of witnesses against death threats. On Monday, prosecutors in Pennsylvania unsealed charges against a man accused of repeatedly threatening to kill F.B.I. agents in the days after Trump’s property was searched.

The magistrate judge who signed the search warrant, Bruce E. Reinhart, ultimately will decide whether the affidavit should be released. It is unclear when he will rule on the news media’s request.

According to the Times, “The legal—and political—aftershocks from the search were still reverberating a week after F.B.I. agents appeared at the resort while the president was at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey.”

Trump—who has accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of conducting a politically motivated “witch hunt” and roughly rifling through his family’s possessions—claimed on Monday that the government “stole my three Passports,” in a post on Truth Social, the online platform he founded.

By late Monday, the Justice Department had contacted Trump’s legal team to retrieve the three passports—two of them expired and the third an active diplomatic passport, according to one of the former president’s lawyers, Evan Corcoran, and a spokesman for the department.

In a statement late Monday, the F.B.I. said that it “follows search and seizure procedures ordered by courts; then, returns items that do not need to be retained for law enforcement purposes.”

Garland agreed last week to release the warrant used to search Trump’s private club, but has resisted attempts to make public the underlying affidavit—a far more sensitive document that should contain, among other things, the reasons prosecutors believe there was probable cause that evidence of a crime could be found at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The investigation into the mishandling of government documents—while known for months—had not been considered to be as significant as the department’s sprawling investigation into the attack on the Capitol, which has been moving closer to Trump and his top advisers.

Federal agents removed top secret documents when they searched Trump’s residence last week as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws, according to a search warrant made public on Friday.

At least one lawyer for Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mar-a-Lago had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.

Even as the former president counterattacked, new details emerged of how Trump and his inner circle flouted the norms, and possibly the laws, governing their handling of government records.

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Trump and his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the man who oversaw presidential records in the chaotic closing days of the administration, failed to organize an effort to collect, box, and deliver materials to the National Archives — as prior presidents former Vice President Mike Pence, did.

Instead, they often focused on settling political grievances and personal grudges, they said.

In the weeks leading up to Trump’s departure from the White House, officials discussed what to do about material that he had at various points taken up to the residence and that needed to be properly stored and returned.

By then, the staff secretary, Derek Lyons, known for trying to keep systems in place, had left the administration. Meadows said he would address such issues, according to a senior administration official.

As Mr. Trump sought to hold on to power, two of Pence’s senior aides—Marc Short, his chief of staff, and Greg Jacob, his counsel—indexed and boxed all of his government papers, according to three former officials with knowledge of the work.

Jacob spent the bulk of his final few days in government preparing the final boxes, with the goal of ensuring that Mr. Pence left office without a single paper that did not belong to him, one of the officials said.

Research contact: @nytimes

At third hearing, January 6 committee focuses on Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence

June 17, 2022

The third hearing by the House select committee investigating the January. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol focused in on a wide-ranging pressure campaign that then-President Donald Trump put on his own vice president, Mike Pence, to disrupt the transfer of power that day, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The hearing on Thursday, June 16, was led by Representative Pete Aguilar (D-California), according to committee aides; while John Wood, a senior investigator for the committee, was involved in questioning witnesses.

The committee in its second hearing on Monday reviewed evidence that Trump was told repeatedly by White House insiders, including his own attorney general, William Barr, that his claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud weren’t true. Trump, who refused to acknowledge the lack of evidence of election fraud, continued to assert that the election had been stolen. The committee says those claims helped inspire the mob on January 6 to storm the Capitol.

During the second public hearing, former Attorney General William Barr said the voter fraud claims were “disturbing allegations.” Witnesses testified on former President Donald Trump’s efforts to cast doubt on the election, which the committee alleges triggered the attack on the Capitol.

Trump has denied wrongdoing related to the riot and called the committee’s probe a sham.

On Thursday, the committee detailed how Trump, over the course of several weeks leading up to January 6, pushed Pence—who as vice president presided over the counting of Electoral College votes—to refuse to accept votes for Joe Biden from a handful of battleground states, throwing the election into chaos. The former president was following a playbook sketched out by lawyer John Eastman in a memo entitled “January 6 scenario.”

The scheme detailed by Eastman was based in part on the existence of fake slates of electors from seven battleground states—including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia—signed by Trump backers. The hearing outlined evidence from the committee’s investigation into efforts to submit those slates, according to committee aides.

Under Eastman’s plan, Pence would refuse to count ballots in states that had multiple slates of electors. That would leave Trump with a majority of votes, and “Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected,” according to the memo.

After expected objections from Democrats, Pence would send the matter to the House, where each state would have one vote. Since Republicans at the time controlled the delegations of 26 states, “President Trump is re-elected,”  Eastman wrote.

Another version of the plan involved sending the electoral votes back to state legislatures, which would determine which electoral slates to send to Congress. More than 100 Republican House members and several Republican senators challenged votes from states such as Pennsylvania—challenges the House and Senate ultimately rejected.

Pence consulted with several experts about Eastman’s plan, including former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig, who hagreed to appear at the committee’s hearing Thursday.

In a letter distributed to members of Congress on January6, Pence wrote that, while some thought he could accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally, he didn’t think he had the “authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress.”

In a speech to the pro-Trump crowd at the Ellipse near the White House on January. 6, Eastman said, “All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislators of the [states] look into this so we get to the bottom of it.”

“All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president,” Trump said in his January 6 speech to the crowd, which followed Eastman’s.

After Trump’s speech, a large crowd started moving toward the Capitol. Trump later tweeted that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” Members of the mob that broke into the Capitol began chanting “hang Mike Pence”—and Trump was said to have privately agreed that they “might be right.”

Indeed, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), vice chairwoman of the select committee, in her opening statement at the panel’s first hearing said that Trump, aware of the chants, responded: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea.”

At the Thursday hearing, the committee planned to feature video evidence showing the danger Mr. Pence faced on January 6, committee aides said.

Research contact: @WSJ

How to watch the January 6 Committee hearings (and what to watch for)

June 8, 2022

After 11 months and more than 1,000 interviews, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob is ready to share what it knows, reports The Washington Post.

It will do that in public hearings, some in prime time, throughout this month. The first will be held this week. Here’s what to know about the hearings.

  • When are the hearings’ dates and times? The first hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 9, at 8 p.m. (EDT). The committee hasn’t announced a formal schedule for the remainder of the hearings, but there could be as many as eight through June, with a final hearing in September—right before the November midterm elections. 
  • How to watch the hearings: The committee  usually live-streams its hearings, and most major TV news stations will be airing at least Thursday’s inquiry in full: TheWrap reports that ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, and CNN plan to air the proceedings. Fox News is the only major news network to decide to continue with its regular, primetime coverage and talk about the hearings “as warranted.” The Washington Post will have anchored coverage and analysis beginning Thursday night on www.washingtonpost.com.
  • What to watch for: The committee plans to detail itsr findings of what members say was a months-long Republican conspiracy to overthrow Joe Biden’s legitimate election victory, led by President Donald Trump. Indeed, the committee even could accuse Trump of committing a crime by intentionally trying to stop Congress’s certification of Biden’s win on January 6, 2021. But Congress’s power is limited; ultimately, the Justice Department would have to decide whether to prosecute.

Investigators have not gotten many close Trump allies or top Republican members of Congress to testify. Instead, members plan to call in staffers to some of the top players, such as aides to former vice president Mike Pence, or former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. And they plan to play videos of their previous interviews with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, report The Post’s Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner.

Each hearing will have a theme. On Thursday, lawmakers are planning to introduce the public to what they’ve been up to for the past 11 months since

Democrats in Congress voted to set up the investigatory committee. Only two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) sit on it, and there are no Trump allies on the committee. They will make an opening statement that offers an overview of the January 6 events.

The New York Times reports that on Thursday, a documentarian who interviewed the Proud Boys and a Capitol police officer who was injured in the attack will provide testimony as some of the panel’s first public witnesses. This comes after the current and former leaders of the Proud Boys have been charged with seditious conspiracy, for allegedly planning the attack on the Capitol.

Other hearings could focus on what Trump did (or didn’t do) on January 6; how he and his allies tried to dismantle the electoral process in the weeks after Election Day in order to keep him in power; how disinformation spreads; and policy recommendations to prevent such an attack from happening again.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Mike Pence to campaign for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp ahead of primary

May 16, 2022

Former Vice President Mike Pence will rally support for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp as the Republican incumbent seeks to fend off a May 24 primary challenge from Donald Trump-backed former Senator David Perdue.

CNN reports that the decision by Pence to campaign for one of Trump’s top GOP targets marks yet  another break with his former boss, after saying earlier this year that the former president was “wrong” in his belief that Pence could have overturned the results of the 2020 election.

Pence will rally with Kemp on Monday, May 16, a day before the Republican primary, which has turned into a proxy fight between the establishment and Trump wings of the GOP.

“Brian Kemp is one of the most successful conservative governors in America,” Pence said in a statement released Friday. “Brian Kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family, and the people of Georgia. I am proud to offer my full support for four more years of Brian Kemp as governor of the great state of Georgia!”

Kemp said in a statement on Friday, May 13, that he and his family are “honored” to have Pence’s support and touted his leadership as vice president. Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, is a senior adviser on Kemp’s campaign.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Kemp for his role in certifying Georgia’s 2020 election results and has claimed that Republicans would stay home in November if the governor is the party’s nominee. Perdue has centered his campaign on lies about the 2020 election results in Georgia and has called Kemp a “weak” leader.

Despite the attacks from Trump and Perdue, Kemp has maintained a lead in the polls. And while there is frustration among many Republicans over Kemp certifying the 2020 election in Georgia for President Joe Biden; some voters who back Perdue have said that, even if he loses the primary, they would still back the incumbent governor in the fall.

Pence is not the only high-profile Republican bolstering support for Kemp. Governors Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Doug Ducey of Arizona, as well as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie—all of whom have clashed with Trump— will also campaign for Kemp ahead of the Georgia primary, a source familiar with the plans previously told CNN.

Ricketts and Ducey are co-chairs of the Republican Governors Association, which has poured money into the race to support Kemp, including a large TV ad buy in the state.

Pence, who in the past loyally aligned himself with Trump and his political movement, has increasingly taken on the former President in public—most notably on the 2020 election, but also in regard to other matters, such as Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Research contact: @CNN

January 6 panel has enough evidence to refer Trump for criminal charges, Cheney says

April 12, 2022

The House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has enough evidence to refer former President Donald Trump for criminal charges, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) said on April 10, reports NBC News.

It’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing — what a number of people around him were doing — that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway,” Cheney, the vice chair of the House panel and one of two Republicans on the committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when host Jake Tapper asked her whether the panel had enough evidence to make a criminal referral for Trump. Cheney said the panel has not made a decision about moving forward with the referral.

The New York Times reported that the committee has concluded that it has enough evidence to make a criminal referral but that its leaders were divided over whether to do so.

“I think what we have seen is a massive and well-organized and well-planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election,” Cheney said. The committee has “got a tremendous amount of testimony and documents that I think very, very clearly demonstrate the extent of the planning and the organization and the objective.”

She added: “The objective was absolutely to try to stop the kind of electoral votes, to try to interfere with that official proceeding. And it’s absolutely clear that they knew what they were doing was wrong.”

She referred to a ruling in a civil suit involving the committee last month, in which a federal judge found that based on evidence, Trump most likely “attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress” on the day of the attack, which would be a crime.

“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote of Trump and lawyer John Eastman’s plan to have then-Vice President Mike Pence determine the results of the 2020 election. “Every American—and certainly the president of the United States—knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed. With a plan this ‘BOLD,’ President Trump knowingly tried to subvert this fundamental principle.”

Trump, who has not been charged with a crime, has denied any wrongdoing.

In recent months, the panel has ramped up its investigation ahead of public hearings expected next month.

Research contact: @NBCNews