New details and never-before-seen photographs have emerged of the “heated” phone call between President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of January 6, 2021.
The information came out during the House Select Committee’s third public hearing this month as part of its investigation into the attack on the United States Capitol.
Thursday’s panel focused on the intense pressure put on Pence by Trump and others to single-handedly undo Joe Biden’s election victory in the 2020 presidential race.
Pence refused Trump’s latest demands, which witnesses said sparked a mocking response from Trump.
The committee shared new photographs of Trump in that same phone call, which it obtained from the National Archives. Another exhibit showed a handwritten note on Trump’s calendar saying the call was due at 11:20 a.m., just hours before a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as Pence presided over Congress certifying the Biden victory.
“The conversation got quite heated,” Ivanka Trump, the ex-president’s daughter who was in the room, told the committee in videotaped deposition.
She recalled the phone call representing a “different tone” than what she had previously heard her father use with Pence.
Other aides who were also inside the Oval Office echoed Ivanka Trump’s alarm.
Eric Herschmann, then White House legal counsel, told lawmakers that the conversation started out on a “calmer tone” but “later got heated.” Herschmann said he didn’t think many people paid attention to the call until it got “louder”.
Nicholas Luna, Trump’s former aide, told the committee he was delivering a note to the Oval Office when he overheard part of Trump’s conversation.
“I remember hearing the word ‘wimp,'” Luna said in a taped deposition. “Either he called him a wimp, I don’t remember if he said, ‘You’re a wimp, you’ll be a wimp.’ Wimp is the word I remember.”
Julie Radford, former chief of staff to Ivanka Trump, said in her deposition that she recalled being told by Ivanka Trump that “her father had just had an upsetting conversation with the vice president.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser at the time, said in recorded deposition that he recalled Trump telling Pence he wasn’t ‘tough enough’ .
Greg Jacob, who served as Pence’s legal counsel between December 2020 and January 2021, testified live Thursday about his experiences on the other side of the appeal.
Jacob said he and several others were with Pence to finalize his statement on why he couldn’t unilaterally reject voters in the state when Pence walked out of the room to take Trump’s call.
“No staff went with him,” Jacob told the committee.
After the call, Jacob testified, Pence seemed “unyielding, determined, sinister.”
The House Select Committee praised the former vice president on Thursday for his “courage” in rejecting Trump’s demands.
“Donald Trump wanted Mike Pence to do something that no other vice president has ever done,” President Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in his opening remarks.
“The former president wanted Pence to reject the votes and either declare Trump the winner or send the votes back to the states to be recounted,” Thompson continued. “Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong.”
Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democrat who led the hearing on Thursday, said it was a “pressure campaign that culminated in a heated Jan. 6 phone call.”
The committee also revealed new photographs of Pence and his family hiding in an underground location in the Capitol complex as Trump supporters stormed the building.
In one photo, Pence is seen looking at a tweet Trump had just sent asking the rioters to leave the area.
Pence remained in the basement for four hours as law enforcement officials finally pushed back the crowd.
Jacob, Pence’s former adviser, told the committee that Pence decided to stay in the area so “not to run the risk of the world seeing the Vice President of the United States flee from the United States Capitol.” .
Jacob also testified that Trump did not check on Pence at all during this time, which frustrated Pence.
ABC News on Wednesday released exclusive White House photos of the Pence family after they were evacuated from the Senate floor, where the joint session of Congress was taking place.
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