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Trump claims he never asked Pence to overturn the election on Truth Social after dramatic Jan 6 hearing

Comes a day after the January 6 select committee detailed the administration’s pressure campaign for the vice president to stop certification of the 2020 election results.

Eric Garcia,Andrew Feinberg
Friday 17 June 2022 23:11 BST
Trump claims he never asked Pence to overturn 2020 elections
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Former president Donald Trump denied that he tried to force vice president Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 presidential election results on January 6 last year.

Mr Trump’s words come a day after the House select committee investigating the riot at the US Capitol held its third public hearing, where Mr Pence’s former White House Counsel Greg Jacob testified about the pressure campaign the former vice president sustained at the hands of the president and his legal team.

Multiple video depositions, including from former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, showed how Mr Trump knew his plan to overturn the election results were illegal.

But Mr Trump pushed back on the allegations on his social media platform Truth Social.

“Such LIES & MISREPRESENTATION by the Unselects, and absolutely nobody allowed to challenge what is being said”, Mr Trump posted. “As an example, I never asked V.P. Pence to ‘overturn’ the election (although Thomas Jefferson ‘took’ the Georgia votes), but that he send the votes back to the Legislatures so that they could determine if the irregularities and Fraud were as widespread and signficant as they seemed.”

The hearing on Thursday detailed how Trump lawyer John Eastman and Mr Herschmann knew the plan was illegal. Similarly, it also revealed how an informant told the FBI that members of the Proud Boys would have killed Mr Pence if they found him.

Mr Jacob told the panel that in a meeting at the Oval Office two days before the riot, Mr Eastman told the vice president about his plan that would have violated the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which governs how Congress counts electoral votes to certify the presidential election.

Ahead of the riot, Mr Trump tweeted out a memorandum that floated the theory that he could overturn the results during a joint session of Congress. Committee member Representative Pete Aguilar of California also revealed that Mr Trump’s speech at the White House Ellipse before the riot did not initially mention Mr Pence but that he later included the vice president’s name and ad-libbed.

When the riot began, Mr Trump tweeted that the vice president “didn’t have the courage” to stop the certification of the election, which in turn led to rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

Later, Mr Trump falsely complained again that the election was stolen.

“The Forgotten Men & Women of our Country are now being forced to endure crooked, rigged and badly tainted Elections, and Open Borders that allow millions & millions of people to ‘invade’ our Country, totally unchecked, unvetted and having no idea where they came from or who they are,” he posted on Truth Social. “In other words, our Country is going to HELL!”

Mr Trump launched a fresh attack on the select committee in a keynote speech at a conservative conference in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday afternoon, where he claimed he never called Mr Pence “wimp” after the then-vice president said he would not hijack the certification of Mr Biden’s victory.

Trump speaks at the conservative ‘Road to Majority’ conference in Nashville on 17 June (AP)

“One guy got up and said that he heard me calling Mike Pence a wimp ... I think they said at my desk. I don’t even know who these people are,” Mr Trump said, referring to the allegation made by Nick Luna, his former “body man”, in a sworn deposition with the House January 6 select committee.

The excerpt of Mr Luna’s deposition was made public as part of the select committee’s presentation of Mr Pence’s movements before and during the Capitol attack, when a mob calling for the then-vice-president to be hanged stormed the Capitol in hopes of stopping Congress from certifying Mr Biden’s win.

Mr Trump added that he “never called Mike Pence a wimp”.

The ex-president devoted a significant portion of his remarks in Nashville to attacking the investigation into the riot carried out by his supporters. He repeatedly told attendees the probe being overseen by the select committee was a “hoax” because the panel includes Democrats who previously investigated his campaign’s ties to the Russian government.

A video of Trump speaking at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally on 6 January 2021 is played during a select committee hearing (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

He complained that the select committee “refuses to play any of the tape of people saying the good things, the things that we want to hear” and cited the lack of “good things” being said about him as evidence that the investigation is “rigged”.

Just moments after he denied calling Mr Pence a “wimp,” Mr Trump laid into his former Vice President as having been “afraid of whatever he was afraid of” when he followed the advice of his own attorneys who advised him that Mr Trump’s plan was illegal.

Continuing, Mr Trump downplayed the attack that cost the lives of four people — including multiple police officers — on January 6.

“If it were an insurrection that took place at the Capitol, you would have known it very soon,” said Mr Trump, who praised the rioters who smashed windows and attacked police officers as “strong people” and “great patriots”.

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