Jan. 6 committee holds third hearing

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury, Clare Foran, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 1:45 p.m. ET, June 17, 2022
49 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:56 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Eastman emailed Giuliani asking to be put on a list of possible pardon recipients after Jan. 6

From CNN's Zachary Cohen 

John Eastman speaks in Boulder, Colorado, in April 2021.
John Eastman speaks in Boulder, Colorado, in April 2021. (Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Conservative attorney John Eastman emailed Rudy Giuliani a few days after Jan. 6 and asked to be included on a list of potential recipients of a presidential pardon, the House Select Committee revealed during Thursday's hearing. 

The committee said Eastman made the request to Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s former attorney, in an email that is in its possession.  

“I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” the email from Eastman to Giuliani reads. 

Eastman did not ultimately receive a pardon and refused to answer the House select committee’s questions about his role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, repeatedly pleading the Fifth Amendment during his deposition. 

The committee argued during Thursday’s hearing that Eastman’s requests for a pardon, and his decision to repeatedly plead the Fifth when questioned previously by the panel, indicates Eastman knew his actions were potentially criminal. 

CNN previously reported that Giuliani and other Trump associates had raised the idea of receiving preemptive pardons in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, but the US Capitol riot had complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids and personal lawyer. 

At the time, several of Trump's closest advisers also urged him not to grant clemency to anyone involved in the Jan. 6 attack, despite Trump's initial stance that those involved had done nothing wrong.

9:41 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

"40 feet between the Vice President and the mob": Committee describes effort to protect Pence 

From CNN's Clare Foran

Then-Vice President Mike Pence is evacuated down the stairs of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Then-Vice President Mike Pence is evacuated down the stairs of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. (House Select Committee/AP)

The House Jan. 6 committee laid out a thorough timeline at today’s hearing detailing the effort to protect Vice President Mike Pence as rioters breached the Capitol. As part of its presentation, the committee made clear that Pence was perilously close to the pro-Trump mob, and that at one point there was only "40 feet between the vice president and the mob."

Showing video of the riot and a 3-D graphic rendering of the Capitol, the committee presented an exhibit with voiceover narration outlining the following timeline:

  • "By 2:24 p.m., the Secret Service had moved Vice President Pence from the Senate chamber to his office across the hall."
  • "Then President Trump tweeted: Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution."
  • "30 seconds later, rioters already inside the Capitol opened the East Rotunda door just down the hall, and just 30 seconds after that rioters breached the crypt, one floor below the Vice President."
  • "At 2:26 p.m., Secret Service rush Vice President Pence down the stairs."
  • "Vice President Pence and his team ultimately were led to a secure location where they stayed for the next four and a half hours, barely missing rioters a few feet away."

Following display of the exhibit, committee member Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar added the following detail: "Approximately 40 feet — that's all there was. Forty feet between the vice president and the mob."

"Make no mistake about the fact that the vice president's life was in danger," he said.

3:44 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Ex-Pence counsel: "Crazy" that Eastman continued to push for delay in election certification even after riot

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Adrienne Vogt

Greg Jacob testifies to the committee on Thursday.
Greg Jacob testifies to the committee on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Even after the Capitol riot was over, the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 showed that former President Donald Trump's lawyer John Eastman wrote an email that night at 11:44 p.m. ET imploring Greg Jacob, former Vice President Pence's counsel, to suspend the session to certify the election.

Jacob said he did not show Pence the email right away, but shared it a "day or two later."

Eastman raised a technical violation of the Electoral Count Act, the law that governed the Jan. 6 congressional certification of the electors. He argued that because the House and Senate had violated the law to the letter by debating the objection for more than two hours, Pence could violate it further by adjourning for 10 days.

“So now that the precedent has been set that the Electoral Count Act is not quite so sacrosanct as was previously claimed, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations,” Eastman wrote.

After reviewing the email, Pence called it "rubber room stuff," according to Jacob.

"I understood it to mean that after having seen it play out, what happens when you convince people that there is a decision to be made in the Capitol legitimately about who is to be the President and the consequences of that, he was still pushing us to do what he had been asking us to do for the previous two days, that that was certifiably crazy," Jacob said.
3:35 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Trump sent tweet attacking Pence after learning of violence at the Capitol, committee says

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

Then-Vice President Mike Pence looks at a phone while taking shelter during the riot at the US Capitol.
Then-Vice President Mike Pence looks at a phone while taking shelter during the riot at the US Capitol. (January 6 Committee)

Former President Donald Trump sent a tweet attacking Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6, 2021 after he was told by his then-chief of staff Mark Meadows there was violence breaking out at the Capitol, committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from California, revealed Thursday.  

At 2:24 p.m. ET, eleven minutes after rioters breached the Capitol building, according to the committee, Trump tweeted that Pence “didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” 

According to Aguilar, the committee’s “investigation found that immediately after the President’s 2:24 p.m. ET tweet, the crowds both outside the Capitol and inside the Capitol surged.”

After the tweet, Aguilar said the mob was able to overwhelm police. Pence was evacuated at 2:26 p.m. ET — two minutes after Trump’s tweet — to a loading dock under the Senate plaza.  

According to previous testimony given to the committee by Meadows’ aide Ben Williamson and White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, Meadows went to tell Trump about the violence at the Capitol before Trump sent the tweet targeting Pence.  

“We had all talked about — at that point about how it was bad and, you know, the situation was getting out of hand,” Matthews said in video testimony played during the hearing. “We thought that the President needed to tweet something and tweet something immediately.”

3:58 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Ivanka Trump and others describe "heated" conversation between Trump and Pence on Jan. 6

A photo of former President Donald Trump on the phone is displayed during Thursday's hearing.
A photo of former President Donald Trump on the phone is displayed during Thursday's hearing. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Mike Pence's former attorney Greg Jacob said he was at the vice president's residence when he got a call from former President Donald Trump. Jacob testified that he and several other people were there finalizing Pence's statement which was set to be put out later that day.

He said Pence stepped out of the room to take the call from Trump and no staff went with him.

Although Jacob couldn't hear the conversation, the House select committee investigating the insurrection said Trump did have several family members with him in the Oval Office on the other line of the phone. The committee played a video that featured clips of testimony from several people who were in the room with Trump during that call.

"When I entered the office the second time, he was on the telephone with who I later found out was the vice president," Ivanka Trump said in the video. "The conversation was pretty heated," she added.

"I think until it became somewhat of a louder tone, I don't think anyone was paying attention to it really," former White House attorney Eric Herschmann said.

Nicholas Luna, a former special assistant to Trump, said he was dropping off a note and remembered Trump calling Pence a “wimp.” 

Luna said he recalled something to the effect of Trump saying “I made the wrong decision four or five years ago.” 

And Julie Radford, Ivanka Trump’s former chief of staff, said she recalled Ivanka Trump telling her that “her dad had just had an upsetting conversation with the vice president.” It had not been publicly disclosed before that Radford spoke to the committee.

Radford said she was told that Trump had called Pence “the P-word,” referencing a derogatory term.

Watch full moment here:

CNN's Jeremy Herb contributed reporting to this post.

3:16 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Justice Department presses Jan. 6 committee for witness transcripts in new letter

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz and Evan Perez

The Justice Department pressed the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot to turn over transcripts of witness interviews, noting that refusing to turn over the documents is leading to delays in the department’s efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal suspects involved in the attack on the Capitol. 

Prosecutors released a letter from top officials overseeing the department’s Jan. 6 criminal investigation to the committee’s chief investigative lawyer, as the committee’s third public hearing is unfolding on national television.

“It is now readily apparent that the interviews the Select Committee conducted are not just potentially relevant to our criminal investigations, but are likely relevant to specific prosecutions that have already commenced,” according to the letter, included in a court filing seeking to delay the trial of members of the Proud Boys, the right-wing extremist group accused of helping to lead the breach at the Capitol. 

Prosecutors asked the committee in April for the access to about 1,000 witness transcripts that lawmakers so far have refused to provide. The delay has frustrated Justice Department officials, who have faced pressure from members of the Jan. 6 committee to move more quickly on politically sensitive prosecutions beyond the rioters. Justice officials say that the committee’s criticism of the department are in conflict with the committee’s own role in delaying some of prosecutors’ work. 

The letter added that “the select Committee’s failure to grant the Department access to these transcripts complicates the Department’s ability to investigate and prosecute those who engaged in criminal conduct in relation to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.”

The letter was released in a joint bid by prosecutors and two members of Proud Boys leadership to delay their trial, which is currently scheduled to begin in August, until December. 

The committee’s hearings have repeatedly mentioned the Proud Boys – including naming at least one defendant in this case, Joe Biggs – and has featured testimony from uncharged members of Proud Boys leadership. 

Prosecutors previously revealed that they learned the select committee was planning to release transcripts from their investigation in September, potentially coinciding with the trial of five Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy for their involvement in the riot. The Justice Department had already asked for the transcripts, Prosecutor Jason McCullough said earlier this month, but that those requests had been denied.

The judge in the case, Judge Timothy Kelly, said earlier this month that despite the committee’s public hearings, he did not believe the trial needed to be postponed and that what the committee does "is beyond the power of anyone around our table here today."

2:54 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

The Jan. 6 committee hearing is back from a break

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol is back after taking a short break. 

2:50 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Catch up: Here are the key moments from today's hearing so far

From CNN staff

Greg Jacob, left, and J. Michael Luttig are sworn in before testifying on Thursday.
Greg Jacob, left, and J. Michael Luttig are sworn in before testifying on Thursday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The Jan. 6 committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol is taking a short break during its third public hearing this month. The panel is presenting evidence that it says shows former President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count 2020 electoral votes.

So far, the panel has heard live testimony from former Pence attorney Greg Jacob and retired Republican judge J. Michael Luttig.

The committee is focusing on Trump attorney John Eastman’s theory that the Vice President had the authority to overturn the election results.

Pence never believed he had the authority to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes, Jacob said in his testimony. He also said Eastman acknowledged to him that his theory would lose at the Supreme Court 9-0.

If you're just catching up now, here are the other key moments you might have missed:

  • Trump’s attempts to pressure Pence: In her opening statements, committee vice chair Liz Cheney said that what Trump wanted Pence to do “was not just wrong, it was illegal and unconstitutional.” Members of the committee are in wide agreement that Trump committed a crime when he pushed a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. But they are split over what to do about it, including whether to make a criminal referral of Trump to the Justice Department, four sources connected to the panel told CNN. 
  • A “constitutional crisis”: Luttig testified that if Pence had followed Trump’s orders to reject the 2020 election result it “would have been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic.” He also testified that he believes the Jan. 6 committee is examining the “profound truth” of the US. He later said he “would have laid (his) body across the road” before advising Pence to overturn the election.
  • In the West Wing: Jacob testified that Pence called him into his office when he first heard the theory that the vice president could announce the outcome of the election. "The vice president's first instinct when he heard this theory was that there was no way that our framers, who abhorred concentrated power and who had broken away from the tyranny of George III, would ever 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, adding that instinct was correct. He said Pence’s legal team reviewed every election in American history, and no vice president in 230 years has ever claimed to have that kind of authority.
  • The John Eastman memo: Eastman, the former Trump attorney, perpetuated the theory that Pence had the authority to decide the results of the election. In the memo presented by Cheney, Eastman argues there is a “historical precedent” for the vice president to reject electors. Luttig said in his testimony that Eastman was “incorrect” and there is no precedent and nothing in the Constitution or US laws that support the theory in the memo. Jacob then testified that Eastman told him that he knew the theory would lose at the Supreme Court unanimously.
  • The 12th Amendment: Witnesses and lawmakers have cited the 12th Amendment frequently during the hearing. As a reminder, the 12th Amendment outlines the electoral vote-counting process and how a president and vice president of the United States will be certified into office. The committee is arguing that Eastman’s theory to overturn the results undermines the 12th Amendment.
2:55 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Trump lied to the press about Pence supporting Jan. 6 plan, former Pence aides say

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Then-President Donald Trump lied to the press when — on the eve of Jan. 6, 2021 — he released a statement claiming then-Vice President Mike Pence supported his plan to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to testimony from a former senior Pence aide during the Jan. 6 committee hearing on Thursday.

Trump, Pence and other top aides met in the Oval Office on Jan. 5 to discuss the upcoming joint session of Congress, where lawmakers would formally certify Joe Biden’s victory. Pence and his team told Trump that there was nothing Pence could do during those proceedings to undo Trump’s defeat.

After the meeting, The New York Times reported about what happened. After the story was published, Trump put out a press release saying that “the Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act.”

But that was a “false” statement that “misrepresented the Vice President’s viewpoint,” Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, said in a videotaped deposition, a clip of which was played Thursday. 

Short also said he was “irritated” by Trump’s statement and “expressed displeasure” during a heated phone call with Jason Miller, who was a senior spokesperson for the Trump campaign at the time.

Pence’s former top lawyer Greg Jacob testified that “we were shocked and disappointed” when they saw the statement, “because whoever had written and put that statement out, it was categorically untrue.”

Most of the statement was personally dictated by Trump, according to a clip of Miller’s testimony.

This was just one of thousands of false statements and lies that Trump publicly made throughout his presidency, according to fact-checkers who evaluated every utterance from his four years in office.