Thursday: Jan. 6 Committee Hearing #3
Posted: June 16, 2022 Filed under: just because
Today’s January 6 Committee hearing is now scheduled for 1PM. We can use this post as a live blog once the hearing begins. While we wait for the fireworks to start, here are some relevant reads to check out.
Hugo Lowell at The Guardian: Third panel hearing will show Trump’s pressure on Pence to overturn election.
The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack intends to outline at its third hearing on Thursday how Donald Trump corruptly pressured then vice-president Mike Pence to reject the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election and directly contributed to the insurrection.
The panel will first examine the genesis of Trump’s pressure campaign on Pence to adopt an unconstitutional and unlawful plan to reject certified electors from certain states at the congressional certification in an attempt to give Trump a second presidential term.
The select committee then intends to show how that theory – advanced by external Trump legal adviser John Eastman – was rejected by Pence, his lawyers and the White House counsel’s office, who universally told the former president that the entire scheme was unlawful.
But Trump deliberately ignored his top White House advisers to go down that path, the panel will show. And, the panel contends, in escalating his campaign to obstruct Biden’s certification through the morning of 6 January 2021, Trump contributed to the violence of the Capitol attack.
The select committee will additionally show that Trump’s false public remarks about Pence having the power to refuse to count votes for Biden – Pence had no such power – directly put the vice-president’s life in danger as the mob chanted “hang Mike Pence”.
Lowell writes that the Committee held a conference call with reporters to let them know what to expect in today’s hearing.
The panel said the hearing would be led by congressman Pete Aguilar, with witness questioning done by former US attorney John Wood, who was appointed senior investigative counsel by vice-chairperson Liz Cheney.
The select committee will hear from Pence’s former counsel Greg Jacob as well as retired former US appellate court judge J Michael Luttig over the course of the hearing, which is expected to last around two hours, according to a source familiar with its planning.
The select committee is likely to focus heavily on the role played by Eastman, who as early as 18 November 2020 was writing memos under the guise of the “Trump legal team” and proposing a brazen plan to send Trump slates of electors to Congress for certification.
There’s quite a bit of detail in the article about Eastman’s crazy plans to get state legislators in swing states to authorize competing slates of electors–a plan that Eastman knew was illegal.
We learned yesterday that Ginni Thomas and John Eastman were emailing each other during while Eastman was conspiring with Trump about overturning the election. You probably saw this blockbuster article at The Washington Post:
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has obtained email correspondence between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to three people involved in the committee’s investigation.
The emails show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, two of the people said. The three declined to provide details and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
The committee’s members and staffers are now discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, the three people said….
The two people said the emails were among documents obtained by the committee and reviewed recently. Last week, a federal judge ordered Eastman to turn more than 100 documents over to the committee. Eastman had tried to block the release of those and other documents by arguing that they were privileged communications and therefore should be protected….
While Thomas has maintained that she and her husband operate in separate professional lanes, her activities as a conservative political activist have long distinguished her from other spouses of Supreme Court justices. Any new revelations about Thomas’s actions after the 2020 presidential election are likely to further intensify questions about whether Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the election and attempts to subvert it.
I’m looking forward to finding out what’s in those emails. Unfortunately, we probably won’t hear anything more about it today, but more leaks are probably coming.
According to this story by Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, John Eastman may have had inside information about internal discussions among Supreme Court justices. I wonder if that leaked gossip came from good old Ginni Thomas? Remember, Eastman clerked with Clarence Thomas.
A lawyer advising President Donald J. Trump claimed in an email after Election Day 2020 to have insight into a “heated fight” among the Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about the president’s efforts to overturn his defeat at the polls, two people briefed on the email said.
The lawyer, John Eastman, made the statement in a Dec. 24, 2020, exchange with a pro-Trump lawyer and Trump campaign officials over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin.
“So the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices’ spines, and I understand that there is a heated fight underway,” Mr. Eastman wrote, according to the people briefed on the contents of the email. Referring to the process by which at least four justices are needed to take up a case, he added, “For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin cert petition to add into the mix.”
The pro-Trump lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, replied that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”
Their exchange took place five days after Mr. Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a “protest” at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress would certify the electoral vote count confirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. “Be there. Will be wild!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
The previously unreported exchange is part of a group of emails obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters.
Mr. Chesebro’s comment about the justices being more open to hearing a case if they fear chaos was striking for its link to the potential for the kind of mob scene that materialized at the Capitol weeks later.And Mr. Eastman’s email, if taken at face value, raised the question of how he would have known about internal tension among the justices about dealing with election cases. Mr. Eastman had been a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.
CNN has a preview about what respected conservative lawyer and former federal judge Michael Luttig will tell the Committee today.
Retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig, a Republican who is testifying at Thursday’s January 6 committee hearing, will provide a sharp condemnation of former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, saying Trump and his allies “instigated” a war on democracy “so that he could cling to power,” according to a written statement he intends to submit for the committee’s record obtained exclusively by CNN.
Luttig outlined in his statement how close he believed democracy came to the brink.
“It is breathtaking that these arguments even were conceived, let alone entertained by the President of the United States at that perilous moment in history,” Luttig wrote. “Had the Vice President of the United States obeyed the President of the United States, America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.” [….]
Luttig was involved in advising the Pence team against claims from Trump allies like attorney John Eastman, who wrote a memo saying Pence had the power to single-handedly block the certification of the election for Joe Biden.
Luttig concluded that January 6 “was the final fateful day for the execution of a well-developed plan by the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election at any cost.” [….]
On January 5, 2021 – after Pence’s lawyer, Richard Cullen, called Luttig asking for help – Luttig tweeted a statement explaining that the Constitution gave Pence no powers to reject electors and overturn the election, as Trump was demanding. Pence cited the statement in his letter on January 6 explaining why he would defy Trump and certify the election.
Luttig wrote in his statement to the committee: “From their inception, the legal arguments that underlaid the efforts to overturn the 2020 election were, in that context, little more than beguiling and frivolous, perhaps appropriate for academic classroom debate, but singularly inappropriate as counsel to the President of the United States of America in his effort to overturn the presidential election – an election he had lost fair and square and as to which there was not then, and there is not to this day, evidence of fraud.”
Former President Donald Trump knew violence had taken hold at the Capitol on Jan. 6 when he tweeted that Mike Pence wasn’t willing to overturn the election, according to a member of the House committee investigating the insurrection who told NBC News the panel will show the former vice president was in more physical danger than previously known.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., who will play a key role in leading the committee’s third public hearing on Thursday, previewed the panel’s findings by telling NBC News that Pence was “evacuated in just the nick of time” from the quickly advancing mob after a disparaging tweet from Trump.
Aguilar said that just minutes after the doors to the Capitol had been breached, while Pence was in his ceremonial office, Trump tweeted that his second-in-command didn’t have the courage to overturn the election results. Moments later Pence was whisked to an evacuation area by Secret Service agents, Aguilar said.
“We notice right away, you know, within 90 seconds, the vice president is being evacuated right after that Trump tweet,” Aguilar said in an interview with NBC News correspondent Garrett Haake.
“[Trump] knew that there was violence and he still tweeted the vice president didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary,” Aguilar added….
Aguilar characterized Trump’s tweet as crucial “because that’s the point at which the president pointed, you know, to the mob and said it’s the vice president’s fault.”
Today’s hearing should be interesting. Please use this post as a live blog if you’re watching.