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Trump called Pence ‘too honest’ after vice president refused to join 2020 scheme, indictment reveals

Pence maintained that his interference in Electoral College count was unconstitutional

John Bowden
Washington DC
Wednesday 02 August 2023 11:54 BST
Special Counsel Jack Smith announces indictment against Donald Trump in Jan 6 probe

A late-day indictment from Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith charging Donald Trump with crimes related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election has uncovered a revealing conversation between Mr Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence after the latter refused to join in the scheme.

Mr Smith charged Mr Trump with four felony counts related to the election subversion campaign his team ran in the days and weeks after he lost to Joe Biden. Among the DoJ’s lengthy court filing Tuesday evening was a description of a conversation between the former president, dubbed “defendant”, and Mr Pence after the latter had told his boss that using his role as president of the Senate to interfere with the chamber’s certification of the Electoral College vote would be illegal.

According to the indictment, Mr Trump responded by chiding his deputy for supposedly being “too honest”.

In a statement first reported by ABC News, Mr Pence commented on the newest indictment: “Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.”

The conversation in question took place on 1 January 2023, according to the Justice Department — just five days before that certification vote took place amid a siege of Capitol Hill by thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters.

The description of the conversation is notable for two reasons: Number one, it illustrates how little the ex-president appears to have actually cared about the legalities of his efforts in the final days of his presidency as he sought to remain in the White House, and two, if the reported conversation is accurate, it proves that Mr Trump was well aware that what he wanted Mr Pence to do was unconstitutional — or at least the vice president believed it to be such — several days before he sought to use the furious crowds of his supporters to persuade Congress and Mr Pence into giving into his whims.

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