Thursday marked the third of seven expected House committee hearings on the January 6 insurrection. The hearing previously scheduled for Wednesday was postponed because of “technical issues” per Representative Zoe Lofgren, a member of the House select committee. The hearing was to have focused on former President Trump’s plan to fire former Attorney General Bill Bar.
The hearing on Thursday concentrated on how former President Donald Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence not to count lawful electoral votes. Prior to the hearing, committee Vice Chair, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WI) released a video message, previewing the topic, saying “President Trump had no factual basis for what he was doing. And he had been told it was illegal.”
As the findings of the select committee’s investigation are shared with the public in these hearings, today’s panel “detailed the intense pressure campaign Mr. Trump and the conservative lawyer John Eastman waged against Mr. Pence to try to get him to overturn the election, which the panel says directly contributed to the violent siege of Congress.”
Committee chair Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said, “We are fortunate for Mr. Pence’s courage on Jan. 6…Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe.”
The crimes Trump committed that fateful day continue to be revealed during these hearings. Representative Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who helped lead the hearing, said, “the committee had evidence that Mr. Trump knew the Capitol was under siege with Mr. Pence inside when he continued to tweet criticism against him.”
Aguilar continued, “Donald Trump knew he lost the 2020 election, but he could not bring himself to participate in the peaceful transfer of power, so he latched on to a scheme that, once again, he knew was illegal…And when the vice president refused to go along, he unleashed a violent mob against him.”
Furthermore, an alarming video was played, which showed “a gallows that was build outside the Capitol and members of the mob making violent threats against Mr. Pence after Trump’s speech pressuring him. In it, rioters chanted ‘Bring out Pence!’ and ‘Hang Mike Pence!’”
A senior White House lawyer for Pence, Greg Jacob testified that Pence knew from the start that Trump’s plans were against the law. The former Vice President’s immediate reaction was that there was “‘no way’ this was ‘justifiable.’”
Pence’s courage was highlighted when it was revealed during the hearing that he refused evacuation, and the option to be sheltered in a secure location. Jacob said, “The vice president did not want the world to see the image of the vice president of the United States fleeing the Capitol.”
Video testimony from Jacob also demonstrated that Trump’s lawyer, John C. Eastman, admitted to the then-president just two days ahead of the insurrection that the scheme was illegal. Jacob testified Eastman told Trump “that his plan to have Mr. Pence obstruct the electoral certification violated the law.”
The evidence further implicated Eastman when Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer, testified about telling Eastman: “You’re going to cause riots in the streets.” Eastman’s subsequent response: “There’s been violence in the history of our country to protect the democracy or protect the Republic.”
Retired, conservative Judge J. Michael Luttig also testified, saying if Pence had succumbed to Trump’s directives, it would essentially have been “tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America.” He added, “The first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic.”
As the world continues to watch these hearings unfold, Representative Thomas told reporters present at the Capitol that the panel would likely reach out to Virginia Thomas, wife to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed about any possible involvement.
Virginia Thomas has told the Daily Caller that she is willing and looks forward to “clear up misconceptions.”