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Pence aides detail Trump effort to overturn election results at Jan. 6 committee hearing

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Bombshell testimony reveals danger Pence faced on Jan. 6 04:01

Washington — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol turned its attention to former President Donald Trump's campaign to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes on Thursday, hearing testimony from close Pence aides who said the president's efforts to overturn the 2020 election were nonsensical and "un-American."

"Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal, he knew it was wrong," Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said to open the third day of hearings examining the Capitol attack. "We are fortunate for Mr. Pence's courage on January 6. Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe."

Two Pence advisers appeared in person at Thursday's hearing: Greg Jacob, Pence's former counsel, and J. Michael Luttig, a highly respected conservative jurist and retired federal judge who advised Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 election. The committee also showed taped footage of interviews with Pence chief of staff Marc Short and other aides.

The testimony made clear that Pence and his closest aides repeatedly told Trump and his allies that a theory pushed by conservative lawyer John Eastman, who argued the vice president should single-handedly reject or replace slates of electors, had no basis in the Constitution or federal law. 

The committee presented evidence that Eastman himself knew the plan violated the law. Nevertheless, Trump continued to pressure Pence to intervene, including in a heated phone call on the morning of the attack. Pence's aides said the president's insistence pushed the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis and placed the vice president at grave risk of physical harm when the mob stormed the Capitol.

Greg Jacobs and J. Michael Luttig sworn in at hearing
Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, left, and retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig are sworn in before testifying during the third hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee on June 16, 2022. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Jacob told the panel that he advised Pence in December that he had "no justifiable basis to conclude" that he could unilaterally reject Electoral College votes, confirming what he said was Pence's "first instinct." In his role as president of the Senate, Pence presided over the joint session of Congress when it gathered to count Electoral Votes on Jan. 6, as required under the 12th Amendment and an 1887 law known as the Electoral Count Act.

"There's just no way that the framers of the Constitution — who divided power and authority, who separated it out who had broken away from George III and declared him to be a tyrant — there was no way that they would have put in the hands of one person the authority to determine who was going to be president of the United States," Jacob said.

Short testified that Pence told Trump he would not reject electors "many, many times" yet the president would not drop the matter. Luttig said Pence rejecting Electoral College votes "would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America."

The committee unveiled an email Eastman sent to Rudy Giuliani seeking a pardon in the wake of the Capitol attack. Eastman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 100 times when he met with congressional investigators.

The second half of the hearing examined the threats to Pence on the day of Jan. 6 itself, when he refused to heed Trump's call to reject electors. The committee said Pence came within 40 feet of the angry mob as he was escorted from the Senate to a secure location, where he remained for more than four hours before the Capitol was secured and lawmakers completed the counting of electoral votes.


Luttig: Trump and his allies pose "clear and present danger to American democracy"

In the final portion of the hearing, Jacob said that if Pence had failed to certify the Electoral College votes, there would have been disastrous short-term and long-term effects. 

"In the long term, we would have established a situation where a vice president would have asserted that one person could have the authority to determine the outcome of an election, which is antithetical to everything in our democracy, antithetical to the rule of law," Jacob said. 

Cheney issued a brief closing statement insisting that Trump "knew his claims of a stolen election were false," and knew that Pence couldn't legally reject the Electoral College votes. 

The next hearing, Cheney said, will detail the efforts from Trump, Eastman and others to apply pressure to local Republicans. 

Thompson praised Jacob and Pence for their courage on Jan. 6. 

"You and Vice President Pence are exactly the people our nation needed at a critical time," Thompson said. "You had the courage to do what was right." 

Thompson asked Luttig to elaborate what threat Trump poses to the nation. 

House January 6th Select Committee Holds Its Third Hearing
J. Michael Luttig testifies before the House Jan. 6 committee on June 16, 2022. Getty Images

Luttig said Trump and his supporters are a "clear and present danger to American democracy." 

"I have written that, as you said, Chairman Thompson, that today, almost two years after that fateful day in January 2021, that still Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy," Luttig said. "That's not because of what happened on January 6. It's because to this very day, the former president, his allies and supporters pledge that in the presidential election of 2024, if the former president or his anointed successor as the Republican Party presidential candidate were to lose that election, that they would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election but succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020. I don't speak those words lightly."

By Kathryn Watson

Eastman sought pardon after Jan. 6, new email shows

The committee obtained an email sent by Eastman to Rudy Giuliani several days after Jan. 6 requesting he be included on a list as a potential recipient of a presidential pardon.

"Third, I've decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works," the email from Eastman to Giuliani read, as displayed by the panel.

Eastman did not receive a pardon, and the committee issued a subpoena for his testimony. During a deposition before the panel, a clip of which was played, Eastman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 100 times, Aguilar said.

The committee also played testimony from Eric Herschmann, a White House attorney, who recalled receiving a call from Eastman following the Jan. 6 assault. Eastman began to discuss the Georgia election results and future court proceedings.

"I said to him, 'Are you out of your effing mind?' I said, I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: orderly transition. I don't want to hear any words coming out of your mouth no matter what, other than orderly transition. Repeat those words to me,'" Herschmann told House investigators. 

Herschmann said the conversation with Eastman continued: "Eventually he said 'orderly transition.' I said, 'Good John. Now I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever going to get in your life: Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer. You're gonna need it.' And then I hung up on him."

By Melissa Quinn

Eastman wanted Pence to suspend joint session after attack on the Capitol

Eastman, according to a memo presented by the committee, still wanted Pence to suspend the joint session and send the electors back to the states even after rioters assaulted the Capitol and came within feet of the vice president. Eastman recognized that doing so would be a violation of the Electoral Count Act. 

Jacob, who received the memo, said he told the vice president about the memo a day or two after, but didn't distract him in the moment.

By Kathryn Watson

Trump's Pence tweet was like "pouring gasoline on the fire," White House aide says

White House staffers recalled to the committee calling for Trump to issue a tweet to quell the violence at the Capitol as the mob of his supporters surged toward the building, ultimately breaking inside.

Ben Williamson, a top aide to chief of staff Mark Meadows, recalled sending a text to his boss recommending the White House address the violence: "Would recommend POTUS put out a tweet about respecting the police over at the Capitol — getting a little hairy over there," according to a copy of the message obtained by the committee. 

Williamson told the panel he also went and spoke with Meadows to reiterate the need for the president to say something. 

But Trump instead issued a tweet criticizing Pence for not rejecting state electors: "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"

"It was clear that it was escalating, and escalating quickly, so then when that tweet, the Mike Pence tweet was sent out, I remember us saying that that was the last thing that needed to be tweeted at that moment," Sarah Matthews, a former press aide, told the panel. "The situation was already bad, and so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that."

Following the president's tweet about Pence, the crowd inside the Capitol surged and overwhelmed law enforcement, prompting the Secret Service to move Pence from his ceremonial Senate office to a secure location within the Capitol complex.

Chris Hodgson, Pence's director of legislative affairs, recalled to the committee that "the noise from rioters became audible," indicating they gained entry into the building.

"The Secret Service couldn't control the situation and do their job of keeping him safe," Hodgson said.

By Melissa Quinn

New photos show Pence in secure location after rioters breached the Capitol

Vice President Mike Pence at a secure location at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. House Jan. 6 committee / National Archives

The committee released never-before-seen photos obtained from the National Archives showing Pence hunkered down in a secure location in the Capitol complex, where he remained for 4.5 hours after rioters breached the perimeter. 

Pence was evacuated from the Senate shortly after the mob entered the Capitol, at one point coming within 40 feet of the rioters.

"When we got down to the secure location, Secret Service directed us to get into the cars, which I did, and then I noticed that the vice president had not," Jacob said. "I understood that the vice president had refused to get into the car."

Jacob explained the vice president "did not want to take any chance that the world would see the vice president of the United States fleeing the United States Capitol."

One photo shows Pence watching a video that Trump tweeted several hours into the attack, finally urging rioters to go home:

Vice President Mike Pence watching a video tweeted by President Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. House Jan. 6 committee / National Archives

Jacob said Trump never called Pence to check on his safety, even as Pence made calls to check on the safety and security of others. 

By Kathryn Watson

Trump called Pence a "wimp" and "the 'p' word" on morning of Jan. 6, aides say

The committee asked Jacob to describe the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Pence and his top staff held a small staff meeting in the morning when a call came in from the president, and the vice president took the call alone. Some of Trump's family members were on the call. 

Ivanka Trump later testified to the committee that the conversation "was pretty heated."

"It was a different tone than I'd heard him take with the vice president before," she said.

Nicholas Luna, Trump's personal aide, also described Trump's end of the call, saying in pre-recorded testimony that he remembered "hearing the word 'wimp.'"

An aide to Ivanka Trump told the committee that the president's daughter told her the president called Pence "the 'p' word" on the call. 

By Kathryn Watson

Jason Miller: Trump dictated "most" of false statement claiming Pence agreed with authority to reject electors

Pence and Trump met one-on-one in the Oval Office on Jan. 5, during which the former president and his vice president had a disagreement about Pence's authority to declare Trump the winner of the election. The meeting was described in the book "Peril," by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, and relayed by Short in testimony to committee investigators. 

Aguilar noted that after the meeting and publication of a New York Times article detailing the conflict between the two on Pence's ability to determine the outcome of the election, Trump issued a statement claiming he and Pence "are in total agreement that the vice president has the power to act."

Jacob recalled Pence's team was "shocked and disappointed" by the statement, because it was "categorically untrue."

Short, Pence's chief of staff, spoke with Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, about the statement, and told the committee he was "irritated" and "expressed displeasure" that  a statement misrepresenting Pence's viewpoint could be disseminated without consultation.

"I think the record shows that that's incorrect," Short said of the statement. "I interpret the statement as false."

Discussing his conversation with Short, Miller told the committee that Short asked about the process for releasing a statement based on a meeting involving only two people and recalled he was "clearly not pleased."

"He used some language to strongly infer that the vice president disagreed with that take," Miller said of Short.

Asked by House investigators whether Trump dictated the statement, Miller said the former president dictated most of it.

"Typically on these, I might have a couple of wording suggestions or maybe I, you know, have a sentence or a rough framework or something of that," he said. "But I know with specificity on this one that it was me and him on the phone talking through it and ultimately the way this came out was the way that he wanted it to."

Aguilar then warned that the dispute between Trump and Pence had "grown to the point where [Short] was concerned that the president could, in Mr. Short's words, 'lash out' at the vice president on Jan. 6. In fact, Mr. Short was so concerned about it that he talked with the head of the vice president's Secret Service detail on Jan. 5."

"My concern was for the vice president's security, and so I wanted to make sure the head of the vice president's Secret Service was aware that likely as these disagreements became more public that the president would lash out in some way," Short said.

By Melissa Quinn

Jacob says Eastman admitted his plan would lose 9-0 at the Supreme Court

Jacob told the committee that Pence "never budged" or waivered on his position that he lacked any authority to overturn the results of the election by not certifying the Electoral College results.

Jacob also told the committee more about interactions he had with Eastman in early January, in which Eastman tried to make the case that Pence could reject the election results. Jacob said Eastman had recommended against Pence attempting to nix the election results, but changed his tune the very next day after a meeting with Trump.

"'I'm here to request that you reject the electors,'" Jacob recalled Eastman as saying. 

But Jacob also said Eastman eventually acknowledged, privately, that the Supreme Court would unanimously reject Eastman's arguments if they reached the court. Eastman, according to Jacob, said the courts wouldn't take up the issue, sending it back to the political realm. 

Jacob recalled debating Eastman's theory on the vice president's authority to reject state electoral votes with him and predicting how the Supreme Court would rule if asked to decide the issue.

"We had an extended discussion, an hour-and-a-half to two hours, on January 5. And when I pressed him on the point, I said, 'John, if the vice president did what you are asking him to do, we would lose 9-to-nothing in the Supreme Court, wouldn't we?'" Jacob recalled. "And he initially started it, 'Well, I think maybe you would lose only 7-2,' and after some further discussion acknowledged, 'Well, yeah, you're right, we would lose 9-nothing.'"

By Kathryn Watson

Eastman and Giuliani knew Pence had no authority to reject electors, committee says

The committee played video testimony from Eric Herschmann, a former White House lawyer, who told investigators he spoke with Eastman about his scheme involving Pence and warned that declaring Trump the winner — over the will of more than 81 million Americans — would lead to violence.

"I said, 'Are you out of your effing mind?' That was pretty blunt. I said, 'You're completely crazy.' I said, 'You're going to turn around and tell 78 plus million people in this country that your theory is, you're going to invalidate their votes because you think the election was stolen?' And I said, 'They're not going to tolerate that. You're going to cause riots in the streets,'" Herschmann recalled. "And he said words to the effect of, 'There's been violence in the history of our country, Eric, to protect the democracy or protect the republic.'"

Herschmann also spoke with Rudy Giuliani on the morning of Jan. 6, he said, and they had an "intellectual discussion" about Eastman's theory on the vice president's role in the joint session.

"When we finished, he said, 'I believe that you're probably right,'" Herschmann recalled. 

Giuliani later spoke before the crowd at the Ellipse rally and declared the strategy "perfectly legal" and "perfectly appropriate."

But "even Dr. Eastman knew his theory didn't hold water," Aguilar said.

Aguilar presented a draft letter to the president from October 2020, in which the idea was proposed for the vice president to determine which electors to count during the joint session Jan. 6. 

A comment responding to the draft noted: "The 12th Amendment only says that the president of the Senate opens the ballots in the joint session and then in the passive voice that the votes shall be counted."

The comments noted that "nowhere does it suggest that the president of the Senate gets to make the determination on his own."

 Aguilar revealed Eastman himself was the author of the comments.

"This is constitutional mischief," Luttig said of the plan from his former clerk.

By Melissa Quinn

Jacob: Eastman didn't think other vice presidents had the power to overturn elections, but said Pence should anyway

Jacob, Pence's former counsel, said Eastman urged him to have Pence overturn the election results, even while admitting that other vice presidents held no such power.

Jacob said he met with Eastman on Jan. 5 with the goal of "persuad[ing] him to acknowledge he was just wrong" in his belief that the vice president could reject electors.

"I thought this had to be one of the most powerful arguments: 'John, back in 2000, you weren't jumping up saying Al Gore had this authority to do that. You would not want Kamala Harris to be able to exercise that kind of authority in 2024, when I hope Republicans will win the election. And I know you hope that too, John,'" Jacob recounted. "And he said, 'Absolutely, Al Gore did not have a basis to do it in 2000. Kamala Harris shouldn't be able to do it 2024, but I think you should do it today.'" 

By Caitlin Yilek

Short said he believes Meadows agreed Pence lacked authority to overturn results

In recorded video testimony, former Pence chief of staff Marc Short said he believed that Mark Meadows, then the White House chief of staff, agreed with him that Pence lacked the authority to overturn the results of the election by not certifying the Electoral College votes. 

In the video testimony, Short said he thinks Meadows "was understanding of that" reality, and suggested so a couple times before Jan. 6. At the same time, Short told the committee Meadows told "so many people so many different things" that it wasn't exactly clear. 

Former Trump aide Jason Miller, also in previously recorded video testimony, told the committee that then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone thought the idea was "nutty," and concurred with the legal analysis that Pence couldn't overturn the results of the election. 

The committee also showed texts in which Fox News host Sean Hannity texted Meadows he was concerned the entire White House counsel's office could resign.

By Kathryn Watson

Eastman admitted fake electors "had no legal weight" and were "dead on arrival," Cheney says

Cheney revealed that Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer advising the Trump campaign, sent a memo to Rudy Giuliani on Dec. 13 — the day before presidential electors gathered to cast their votes for president and vice president — claiming the vice president is charged with "making judgments about what to do if there are conflicting votes." When the joint session of Congress considered Arizona's electoral votes, Chesebro argued, Pence should not count those votes for Mr. Biden because there were two slates of votes: one for Mr. Biden and one for Trump, the latter of which falsely deemed themselves the "true" electors for the state.

The memo was ordered to be produced to the select committee by a federal district judge in California, who has been overseeing litigation between Eastman and the panel. 

Eastman then "took up" this cause, according to Cheney, and prepared a memo outlining the "nonsensical" theory that the vice president could decide the outcome of the election on Jan. 6.

Eastman claimed in his memo that seven states sent dual slates of electors to Congress and relied on this assertion as justification for Pence declaring Trump the winner of the 2020 election.

Asked whether there were actually dual slates of electors from seven states, Jacob said: "No, there were not."

Eastman also claimed there was "very solid legal authority, and historical precedent" for Pence to reject the electors from states he considered "disputed." 

But "Dr. Eastman knew it was false. In other words, it was a lie," Cheney said.

In an email sent Dec. 19, Eastman himself admitted the fake electors "had no legal weight" and were "dead on arrival in Congress," because they did not have a certification from their states, Cheney said.

"There was no support whatsoever in either the Constitution of the United States nor the laws of the United States for the vice president, frankly ever, to count alternative electoral slates from the states that had not been officially certified by the designated state official in the Electoral Count Act of 1887," Luttig said when asked whether the alternate slates had any legal significance. 

Reading from Eastman's memo, Luttig said his former law clerk was wrong when he claimed there was legal authority and historical precedent for the vice president to count alternative electoral slates that hadn't been certified to the Congress.

"I do know what Mr. Eastman was referring to when he said that there was historical precedent for doing so. He was incorrect," he said. "There was no historical precedent from the beginning of the founding in 1789 that even has mere historical precedent."

By Melissa Quinn

Luttig says Trump's plan would have sparked a "revolution within a constitutional crisis"

Luttig, the retired federal judge who advised Pence after the election, had solemn words for the committee. 

He said that had Pence obeyed the orders from Trump and declared him the next president, it would have "plunged America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America," which he said "would have been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic." 

Luttig called the rule of law the "most foundational concept in America," and a "simple" but "profound" truth. 

The question before the committee and the nation, Luttig said, is whether the "foundational rule of law was supremely violated on January 6, 2021." 

"There was no historical precedent from the beginning of the founding in 1789 ... that would support the possibility of the vice president of the United States, quote, counting alternative electoral slates that had not been officially certified to the Congress," he added later.

By Kathryn Watson

Jacob: No "justifiable basis to conclude" that Pence had the authority to determine election

Greg Jacobs and Michael Luttig sworn in at hearing
Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, at left, and retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig are sworn in before testifying during the third hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on June 16, 2022. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Jacob, Pence's counsel, recalled speaking with the vice president for the first time on Dec. 7 about his role during the joint session of Congress under the 12th Amendment and the Electoral Count Act, during which Pence said he had been reading things claiming he had a "significant role" to play in determining the outcome of the election.

The vice president's first instinct, Jacob recalled, was that the framers "would never have put one person, particularly not a person who had a direct interest in the outcome because they were on the ticket for the election, in a role to have a decisive impact on the outcome of the election.'

Jacob said the vice president's advisers' review of the text, history and "frankly just common sense all confirmed the vice president's first instinct on that point: there is no justifiable basis to conclude that the vice president has that kind of authority."

By Melissa Quinn

Rep. Pete Aguilar: "Jan. 6 was not an isolated incident"

An image of the attack on the U.S. Capitol is projected as the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol convenes for its third public hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 16, 2022.
An image of the attack on the U.S. Capitol is projected at the third hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee on June 16, 2022. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar, who's leading today's hearing, said the committee intends "to show the American people that Jan. 6 was not an isolated incident." 

"In the weeks culminating before, it was a legal scheme and deception. We've already learned that President Trump knew he lost the 2020 election," Aguilar said in his opening statement. "Shortly thereafter, he began to look for a way to circumvent the country's most fundamental civic tradition: The peaceful transfer of power." 

"We witnessed firsthand what happened when the president of the United States weaponized this theory: The Capitol was overrun. Police officers lost their lives. The vice president was taken to a secure location because his safety was in jeopardy," he continued. 

The committee played clips of rioters chanting for Pence to be brought outside the Capitol, and others yelling, "hang Mike Pence." 

Aguilar said witnesses will show that Mr. Trump was repeatedly told that Pence had no authority to overturn the election but would not listen. 

By Caitlin Yilek

Cheney says Trump was "told repeatedly" that Pence could not overturn election results

Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney said the committee will lay out that Trump was "told repeatedly" that Pence lacked the "constitutional and legal authority" to nix the election results by not certifying the Electoral College votes. 

When, Cheney asked, did the president learn that what he was asking Pence to do was illegal? 

Cheney said the committee will focus on how Pence was "determined to abide by his oath of office," and how people in the White House counsel's office and on Fox News determined Pence did the right thing. 

By Kathryn Watson

Thompson opens third hearing: "Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe"

Thompson, the chairman, kicked off the third hearing of the select committee just after 1 p.m., laying out the pressure campaign mounted against Pence by Trump in an attempt to retain power.

"'There is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person can choose the American president.' I agree with that, which is unusual, because former Vice President Mike Pence and I don't agree on much. These are his words, spoken a few months ago about Donald Trump's attempt to pressure the former vice president, pressure him into going along with an unlawful and unconstitutional scheme to overturn the 2020 election and give Donald Trump a second term in office that he did not win," the Mississippi Democrat said in his opening remarks.

Thompson reiterated that Trump wanted Pence to execute a strategy — later learned to have been crafted by John Eastman — under which he would reject state electoral votes on Jan. 6 and either declare Trump the winner, or send the votes back to states to be counted again.

"Mike Pence said no. He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal, he knew it was wrong," Thompson said. "We are fortunate for Mr. Pence's courage on January 6. Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe."

Thompson noted that since Jan. 6, the "danger hasn't receded."

By Melissa Quinn

How Pence defied Trump on Jan. 6

In his role as president of the Senate, Pence was responsible for presiding over the joint session of Congress that met to count the votes of the Electoral College and finalize President Biden's victory on Jan. 6.

The vice president was facing enormous pressure from Trump and his allies to reject certain states' votes and effectively overturn the election outcome. Earlier that morning, Trump told the large crowd gathered near the White House that "Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country, because you're sworn to uphold our Constitution."

Pence had made his intentions clear moments before, when he released a lengthy statement saying he did not have the power under the Constitution to reject states' votes.

"It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Pence said.

Later that afternoon, the crowd marched from the White House Ellipse to the Capitol, with some chanting "hang Mike Pence." Pence was presiding over the Senate when the rioters breached the perimeter and lawmakers were hastily escorted from the chambers.

He was taken to a secure location in the Capitol. Hours later, he returned to preside over the rest of the proceedings, and confirmed Mr. Biden would be the next president in the early morning hours of Jan. 7.

By Stefan Becket

Jan. 6 committee wants to talk with Ginni Thomas, chairman says

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the Jan. 6 panel, told reporters it's time for the committee to invite Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist, to speak with the panel.

"Some information refers to Ginni Thomas, and we think it's time that we would, at some point, invite her to come talk to the committee," he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Asked whether the panel is interested in whether she provided insight into internal Supreme Court deliberations, Thompson said no, but added that it's "time for us to invite her to come talk."

The Mississippi Democrat said he expects the panel will ask her to speak with investigators "soon."

The heightened interest in an invitation to Ginni Thomas comes after the Washington Post and CBS News reported Wednesday that the panel obtained email exchanges between her and John Eastman. The New York Times also reported that Eastman wrote in a Dec. 24, 2020, email there was a "heated fight" among the justices as to whether to take up a case involving Trump's efforts to overturn the election.

Eastman clerked for Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court and Luttig when he served on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

By Melissa Quinn

GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk says he's received threats since Jan. 6 panel released tour footage

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Georgia, said Thursday he has received threatening phone calls to his Washington, D.C., and district offices after the select committee released security footage showing him leading constituents on a tour of the Capitol complex on Jan. 5, the day before the assault on the Capitol building.

"The select committee's irresponsible actions of releasing information to the press, instead of dealing directly with me, not only shows their lack of interest in pursuing the truth, but also has real and serious consequences," he said in a statement.

In one message, a woman said, "Hey, insurrectionists don't have a long lifespan."

In another, a man said: "I hope you get dragged in front of a military tribunal. I hope you get a Marine firing squad. That's too good for you. That'd be too good for you, you f**k. I hope you die a billion mother f**king deaths in hell." Another caller said Loudermilk is a "f**king traitor" and a "son of a b***h."

One caller warned Loudermilk better "beef up his security," while another male caller threatened the congressman and his family, calling him a "piece of garbage."

Loudermilk also pointed to a letter, dated June 13, from Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger about the visit by 15 constituents and their tour through House office buildings, as seen on the closed-circuit television system. Manger's letter notes that Loudermilk left the group during the tour, but the constituents did not appear in any tunnels that would've taken them to the Capitol. Additionally, tunnels leading to the Capitol were manned by Capitol Police officers, and members of the public could not visit the Capitol without a member of Congress at that time.

"There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021," Manger wrote. "We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious."

Loudermilk's release of the vulgar messages is the latest escalation in an ongoing spat with the select committee over its request for information about the tour he led the day before the Capitol attack.

The committee told Loudermilk last month that public reporting and witness accounts indicate some people and groups sought to gather information about the layout of the Capitol and House office buildings ahead of Jan. 6.

By Melissa Quinn
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