Jan. 6 hearing will show Trump’s pressure campaign on Pence ‘directly contributed’ to Capitol attack, committee says

Committee aides said Thursday’s hearing will focus on how Trump conducted the pressure campaign against Pence despite lawyers from the White House Counsel’s Office saying the vice president did not have the power to unilaterally overturn the election results. The panel also intends to demonstrate at the hearing that there is a “permanent threat” to democracy from people holding the false view that the 2020 election was rigged, aides said.

The committee plans to move on from the origin of the theory advanced by Trump lawyer John Eastman that Pence had the power to overturn the election results thanks to Trump’s week-long lobbying campaign that has led to insurrection. The hearing, aides said, will include new material about what Pence was doing on Jan. 6, including his whereabouts.

Much of Thursday’s presentation will be led by Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, and a committee attorney will also ask questions during Thursday’s hearing.

The panel, according to committee aides, plans to once again weave live testimony with panel depositions on video. On Tuesday, the committee released a video of Trump’s former White House attorney Eric Herschmann saying he told Eastman on Jan. 7 that he should “get a great criminal defense attorney.”
Greg Jacob, who served as Pence’s attorney when he was vice president, and J. Michael Luttig, a retired judge and informal adviser to Pence, will testify before the committee on Thursday. While former Pence chief of staff Marc Short is not testifying on Thursday, aides said his deposition testimony should be shown.

Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, Short said he spoke with the Secret Service the day before the attack on the US Capitol.

“On the 5th I spoke to Tim,” Short said of the senior Secret Service agent on Pence’s details. “By then it became clear that the disagreements that had been discussed and the staff were about to become much more public, and I think with thousands of people descending on Washington hoping to a different outcome, I just thought it was important that they were alerted to this, but I had no specific intelligence I didn’t know the Capitol would be attacked like it was.

The New York Times reported that Short warned the Secret Service that Trump was going to turn on Pence and that there could be a security risk for the vice president.

Asked if Pence thinks Trump’s public pressure campaign against him puts him in danger, Short said, “I think the vice president felt safe with the Secret Service around him. I don’t don’t think any of us ever imagined what would happen on January 6th.”

Short told Blitzer of Trump, “I think ultimately the blame is on the president.”

“He has a responsibility to listen to advice or reject advice, but I also think there were people around the president who I think served him very badly and I think gave him some very bad advice.”

This story was updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

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