What we just heard about Trump, Pence and Giuliani on January 6th was beyond the worst-case scenario

As the Capitol was under attack, Pence’s counsel sent an email to John Eastman, reading: ‘Thanks to your bulls**t, we are now under siege.’ Eastman replied in a Trump-like fashion: ‘The siege is because you and your boss did not do what was necessary’

Ahmed Baba
Washington DC
Thursday 16 June 2022 22:20
Jan 6: Ivanka Trump gives testimony on father's final phone call with Pence

They knew. They all knew.

Today’s hearing focused on Donald Trump, John Eastman, and his allies’ effort to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the 2020 election on January 6. According to testimony, key players in Trump’s inner circle — including Trump and Eastman themselves — knew that Pence overturning the election would be illegal, but pushed him to do it anyway. In other words, they knowingly launched an illegal attempted coup.

The two in-person witnesses today were Pence’s former counsel Greg Jacob and retired federal judge Michael Luttig. Luttig is a well-respected conservative legal icon; so much so, he’s been considered for a Supreme Court nomination in the past. Ted Cruz and John Eastman were clerks for Luttig, and Pence reached out to Luttig ahead of January 6 for advice. Luttig advised that he did not have the authority to overturn the election.

The hearing today went on to outline a damning timeline of events that would’ve read like a political thriller novel if I showed it to you 20 years ago.

In late December 2020, Eastman crafted the now-infamous memo that would lead to an unprecedented presidential pressure campaign against Trump’s own vice president. On January 4, 2021, there was a meeting at the White House about that memo. Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Greg Jacob, and John Eastman were in attendance. According to testimony from Greg Jacob, in that meeting, Eastman admitted that his theory would violate the Electoral Count Act in front of Donald Trump. This is some very clear criminal intent evidence. Trump was straight-up told his effort to coerce Pence to overturn the election was illegal by John Eastman — the man who engineered the effort. It gets worse.

The next morning, on January 5, Eastman and Jacob had another meeting. In spite of acknowledging that his theory was illegal the night before, Eastman still asked Jacob for Pence to overturn the election. Jacob was shocked. In that same meeting, Eastman admitted to Jacob that his theory would lose by 9-0 if it ever made it to the Supreme Court. On the night of January 5, Trump released a statement claiming Trump and Pence were in agreement about his power to act. Greg Jacob said that statement was “categorically untrue.”

Eastman wasn’t the only Trump ally who allegedly had full knowledge of the illegality of this scheme. Pence’s former Chief of Staff Marc Short testified that Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows privately admitted he knew Pence had no authority to overturn election results. Former Trump spokesman Jason Miller testified that Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone also thought Eastman’s theory was baseless. Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann testified that even Rudy Giuliani knew Eastman’s memo was meritless. Herschmann says Giuliani told him on a phone call that he agreed the theory wouldn’t hold up in court.

Yet Trump, Giuliani, and Eastman stood on the “Save America” rally stage on the morning of January 6 and ferociously pushed for Pence to illegally overturn the election. And that wasn’t the only pressure applied to Pence that day.

On the morning of January 6, Donald Trump and Pence had a phone call that Ivanka Trump described as “heated.” Donald was in the Oval Office in a rage. According to testimony from multiple people who heard the call, he attacked Pence, calling him a “wimp” for refusing to overturn the election. Ivanka relayed to an associate that Donald called Pence a “p***y.”

Trump then proceeded to attend the “Save America” rally where he further attacked Pence before inciting his mob of supporters to march on the Capitol. At 2:24 pm, during the Capitol siege, Trump sent a tweet claiming that Pence didn’t have the “courage” to overturn the election. A witness stated that, in response to hearing about “Hang Mike Pence” chants during the Capitol insurrection, Trump said: “Maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence deserves it.”

As the Capitol was under attack, Greg Jacob sent an email to John Eastman, reading: “Thanks to your bulls**t, we are now under siege.” Eastman replied in a Trump-like fashion: “The siege is because you and your boss did not do what was necessary”.

Pence and his team raced to evacuate the Capitol, barely escaping a rabid pro-Trump mob that was just 40 feet away. An informant told the FBI that the Proud Boys were willing to kill Mike Pence if they had the chance. It cannot be overstated how much danger Donald Trump put his own vice president in.

As midnight approached on January 6, well after the violent siege, Eastman still requested that Pence send the electoral votes back to the states via email. Instead, Pence chose to preside over the lawful electoral vote count that confirmed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president. Greg Jacob said that Trump never even called Pence once to check on his safety that day.

On January 7, Eric Herschmann received a phone call from John Eastman. Herschmann did not mince words, telling Eastman he was going to give him some free legal advice: “Get a great f****ing criminal defense lawyer. You’re gonna need it.” An email revealed by the January 6 Committee today shows that Eastman took that advice in a very different direction. He sent an email to Giuliani that read: “I decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.”

This timeline paints an incredibly damning picture of the former president and his allies. In a nutshell, the committee revealed today that Trump, his allies, and Eastman himself knew their “theory” that Pence could overturn the election was illegal and yet they held a rally and sent a mob to the Capitol to pressure him to do it anyway. And after it was over, Eastman requested a pardon. You can’t get more direct criminal intent evidence than that.

No wonder Judge Carter so confidently said in his ruling that Donald Trump and Eastman “more likely than not” committed obstruction and conspiracy in their bid to obstruct Congress’s ability to count the electoral votes in the 2020 election.

These hearings are weaving together a story. Trump knew he lost the election, but declared victory anyway. Trump knew his voter fraud claims were false, but continued to radicalize his supporters and litigate them in court anyway. Trump knew that it would’ve been illegal for Pence to overturn the election, and pressured him to do it anyway.

These hearings are clearly outlining that Trump was in no way ignorant of the laws he would go on to violate. This truth should echo in our minds as we read Judge Luttig’s chilling final words that closed out today’s hearing. Luttig claimed that Trump, his allies, and his supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy — not just because of January 6, but because they will try and overturn the 2024 election as well. Americans should pay attention.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in