The House January 6 committee will use its third June hearing to make the case that then-President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on his vice president to overturn the 2020 presidential election “directly contributed” to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, which put Mike Pence’s life in danger, aides said on Wednesday.
Committee aides said Thursday’s hearing will focus on how Trump had driven the pressure campaign against Pence despite being told by lawyers in the White House counsel’s office that the vice president did not have the authority to unilaterally subvert the election results. The panel also intends to demonstrate at the hearing that there’s an “ongoing threat” to democracy from people advocating the false view that the 2020 election was rigged, the aides said.
The committee plans to move from the origination of the theory put forward by Trump attorney John Eastman that Pence had the authority to overturn the election results through Trump’s weeks-long pressure campaign that led to the insurrection. The hearing, aides said, will include new materials about what Pence was doing on January 6, including his whereabouts.
Much of Thursday’s presentation will be led by Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, and a committee counsel also will be asking questions during Thursday’s hearing.
The panel, according to committee aides, once again plans to weave live witness testimony with depositions the panel has on video. On Tuesday, the committee teased video from former Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann saying that he had told Eastman on January 7 that he should “get a great effing criminal defense attorney.”
Greg Jacob, who served as counsel to Pence when he was vice president, and J. Michael Luttig, a retired judge and informal Pence adviser, will testify before the committee on Thursday. While former Pence chief of staff Marc Short is not testifying Thursday, aides said that his deposition testimony is expected to be shown.
Speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday, Short said he had spoken with the Secret Service the day before the attack on the US Capitol.
“On the 5th I did talk to Tim,” Short said of the lead Secret Service agent on Pence’s detail. “At that point it did become clear that the disagreements that had been discussed and the staff were about to become far more public, and I think with thousands of people descending on Washington with hopes of a different outcome, I just thought it was important that they be alerted to that, but I did not have any specific intelligence. I did not have any knowledge that the Capitol would be attacked the way it was.”
The New York Times has reported that Short warned the Secret Service that Trump was going to turn on Pence and that there could be a security risk to the vice president.
Asked if Pence believed that Trump’s public pressure campaign against him was endangering him, Short said, “I think the vice president felt secure with the Secret Service around him. I don’t think any of us ever envisioned what would happen on January 6.”
Short told Blitzer of Trump: “I think ultimately the buck stops with the President.”
“He has responsibility to listen to advice or discard advice, but I also think that there were people around the President who I think served him very poorly and I think gave very poor advice.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.