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
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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.

2:49 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Committee's questioning reveals Greg Jacob will not speak about direct conversations between Trump and Pence

From CNN's Annie Grayer

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

In a question that Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar phrased to former Vice President Mike Pence's attorney Greg Jacob about a meeting between then-President Donald Trump, Pence, and conservative attorney John Eastman on Jan. 4, 2021, Aguilar revealed a key term of Jacob's agreement to testify — that he would not discuss the direct conversations between Trump and Pence.

Aguilar was asking Jacob — who served as chief counsel to Pence — about what was said in that January meeting, but acknowledged that Jacob would not answer any questions about what was said between Trump and Pence directly.

So instead, Aguilar phrased his question more broadly and asked Jacob whether Pence ever wavered in his position that he could not delay certification.  

2:34 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

What we know about Ivan Raiklin and the "Pence Card"

From CNN's Zachary Cohen

Ivan Raiklin speaks at an election security seminar in New Hampshire in November 2021.
Ivan Raiklin speaks at an election security seminar in New Hampshire in November 2021. (Brian Snyder/Reuters/File)

Ivan Raiklin, the man mentioned by name during Thursday’s hearing as having posted a memo called the “Operation Pence Card,” is a known associate of former President Donald Trump’s one-time national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The memo outlined a theory that the vice president could block certification of the election results on Jan. 6.

Raiklin has worked with Flynn and a group of other former military service members to spread various unfounded theories about how the 2020 election was compromised – an effort that began weeks before Jan. 6 and continued months after. 

They have also been heavily involved in efforts to file lawsuits and audits in various states challenging the election outcome. 

Raiklin first posted the “Pence Card” document on his social media accounts in mid-December 2020. 

Trump appeared to endorse the plan, retweeting one of Raiklin’s posts about the “Pence Card” on Dec. 23, 2020.

Raiklin posted his plan weeks before conservative attorney John Eastman drafted his own memo outlining a similar plan, which was embraced by Trump despite warnings it was not legally sound. 

Raiklin served as a Green Beret and at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has known Flynn for several years.

2:37 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Pence never believed he could reject Electoral College votes, former chief counsel tells committee

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz

Greg Jacob delivers testimony on Thursday.
Greg Jacob delivers testimony on Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)

Former Vice President Mike Pence never believed he had the authority to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes, Pence's former chief counsel Greg Jacob testified to the House select committee on Thursday.

“The Vice President's first instinct was that there was no way that any one person, particularly the Vice President who is on the ticket and has a vested outcome in the election, could possibly have the authority to decide it by rejecting electors or to decisively alter the outcome by suspending the joint session for the first time in history in order to try to get a different outcome from state legislatures” Jacob testified.

Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told the committee in an earlier recorded deposition that Pence consulted with former Vice President Dan Quayle, who confirmed Pence’s view that he had only a ceremonial role in counting the Electoral College votes.

2:23 p.m. ET, June 16, 2022

Eastman claimed Pence – but not Democratic VPs – could overturn elections, Pence aide says

Former President Donald Trump's lawyer John Eastman said he did not believe other vice presidents, such as Al Gore after the 2000 election or Kamala Harris after the eventual 2024 election, could overturn elections — but he wanted former then-Vice President Mike Pence to do so, Pence's former counsel Greg Jacob told the Jan. 6 committee.

"This was one of the many points that we discussed on Jan. 5. [Eastman] had come into that meeting trying to persuade us that there was some validity to his theory. I viewed it as my objective to persuade him to acknowledge he was just wrong, and I thought this had to be one of the most powerful arguments," Jacob said.

Jacob said he told Eastman, "'John, back in 2000, you weren't jumping up and 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.' 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 in 2024. But I think you should do it today.'"

Remember: No vice president has ever tried to overturn an election using the scheme that Eastman proposed, and his theories have been condemned as anti-democratic by a wide array of legal experts.

Previous vice presidents had to preside over the Electoral College process that cemented their defeats, like Richard Nixon did after the 1960 election and Al Gore after the 2000 election and Florida recount.