CD266: Contriving January 6th

CD266: Contriving January 6th

Jan 6, 2023

The January 6th Committee investigation is over and four criminal charges against former President Donald Trump have been referred to the Justice Department by the Committee. In this episode, hear a summary of 23 hours of testimony and evidence presented by the Committee which prove that former President Trump went to extraordinary and illegal lengths to remain President, despite losing the 2020 Election.

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Background Sources

Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

CD236: January 6: The Capitol Riot

CD228: The Second Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump

The Final Committee Report

“Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol,” [House Report 117-663] 117th Congress Second Session. Dec 22, 2022. U.S. Government Publishing Office.

The January 6th Committee

“Inside the Jan. 6 Committee.” Robert Draper and Luke Broadwater. Dec 23, 2022. The New York Times Magazine.

2020 Election Litigation

“Litigation in the 2020 Election.” Oct 27, 2022. The American Bar Association.

“‘Trump Won Two-Thirds of Election Lawsuits Where Merits Considered.'” Daniel Funke. Feb 9, 2021. PolitiFact.

January 6th Security Failures

“Capitol Attack: The Capitol Police Need Clearer Emergency Procedures and a Comprehensive Security Risk Assessment Process,” [GAO-22-105001] February 2022. U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Electors and Vote Certification Process

“Who Are Electors And How Do They Get Picked?” Domenico Montanaro. Dec 14, 2020. NPR.

“About the Electors.” May 11, 2021. U.S. National Archives.

John Eastman

“Who is John Eastman, the Trump lawyer at the center of the Jan. 6 investigation?” Deepa Shivaram. Jun 17, 2022. NPR.

“About Us.” The Federalist Society.

“The Eastman Memo.”

Trump and Georgia

“The Georgia criminal investigation into Trump and his allies, explained.” Matthew Brown. Nov 22, 2022. The Washington Post.

“Here’s the full transcript and audio of the call between Trump and Raffensperger.” Amy Gardner and Paulina Firozi. Jan 5, 2021. The Washington Post.

AG Bill Barr Interview

“In exclusive AP interview, AG Barr says no evidence of widespread election fraud, undermining Trump.” Mike Balsamo. Dec 11, 2020.

“Barr tells AP that Justice Dept. hasn’t uncovered widespread voting fraud that could have changed 2020 election outcome.” Dec 1, 2020. The Associated Press.

Past Electoral Vote Challenges

“Post Misleadingly Equates 2016 Democratic Effort to Trump’s 2020 ‘Alternate Electors.'” Joseph A. Gambardello. Jun 29, 2022. FactCheck.org.

“Democrats challenge Ohio electoral votes.” Ted Barrett. Jan 6, 2005. CNN.

Fake Electors

“What you need to know about the fake Trump electors.” Amy Sherman. Jan 28, 2022. PolitiFact.

“Exclusive: Federal prosecutors looking at 2020 fake elector certifications, deputy attorney general tells CNN.” Evan Perez and Tierney Sneed. Jan 26, 2022. CNN.

“American Oversight Obtains Seven Phony Certificates of Pro-Trump Electors.” Mar 2, 2021. American Oversight.

Censure of Cheney & Kinzinger

“Read the Republican Censure of Cheney and Kinzinger.” Feb 4 2022. The New York Times.


Audio Sources

12/19/22 Business Meeting

December 19, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

10/13/22 Business Meeting

October 13, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Featured speakers:

Kayleigh McEnany, Former White House Press Secretary
Molly Michael, Former Executive Assistant to the President
Pat Cipollone, Former White House Counsel

Clips

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Why would Americans assume that our Constitution, and our institutions, and our Republic are invulnerable to another attack? Why would we assume that those institutions will not falter next time? A key lesson of this investigation is this: Our institutions only hold when men and women of good faith make them hold, regardless of the political cost. We have no guarantee that these men and women will be in place next time. Any future president inclined to attempt what Donald Trump did in 2020 has now learned not to install people who could stand in the way. And also please consider this: The rulings of our courts are respected and obeyed, because we as citizens pledged to accept and honor them. Most importantly, our President, who has a constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws, swears to accept them. What happens when the President disregards the court’s rulings is illegitimate. When he disregards the rule of law, that my fellow citizens, breaks our Republic.

January 6 Committee Lawyer: To your knowledge, was the president in that private dining room the whole time that the attack on the Capitol was going on? Or did he ever go to, again only to your knowledge, to the Oval Office, to the White House Situation Room, anywhere else? Kayleigh McEnany: The the best of my recollection, he was always in the dining room. January 6 Committee Lawyer: What did they say, Mr. Meadows or the President, at all during that brief encounter that you were in the dining room? What do you recall? Gen. Keith Kellogg: I think they were really watching the TV. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Do you know whether he was watching TV in the dining room when you talked to him on January sixth? Molly Michael: It’s my understanding he was watching television. January 6 Committee Lawyer: When you were in the dining room in these discussions, was the violence of capital visible on the screen on the television? Pat Cipollone: Yes.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): A federal appeals court in Pennsylvania wrote, quote, “charges require specific allegations and proof. We have neither here.” A federal judge in Wisconsin wrote, quote, “the court has allowed the former President the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits.” Another judge in Michigan, called the claims quote, “nothing but speculation and conjecture that votes for President Trump were either destroyed, discarded or switched to votes for Vice President Biden.” A federal judge in Michigan sanctioned nine attorneys, including Sidney Powell, for making frivolous allegations in an election fraud case, describing the case as a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. Recently, a group of distinguished Republican election lawyers, former judges and elected officials issued a report confirming the findings of the courts. In their report entitled “Lost, Not Stolen,” these prominent Republicans analyzed each election challenge and concluded this: Donald Trump and his supporters failed to present evidence of fraud or inaccurate results significant enough to invalidate the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. On December 11, Trump’s allies lost a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court that he regarded as his last chance of success in the courts.

Alyssa Farah: I remember maybe a week after the election was called, I popped into the Oval just to like, give the President the headlines and see how he was doing and he was looking at the TV and he said, “Can you believe I lost to this effing guy?” Cassidy Hutchinson: Mark raised it with me on the 18th and so following that conversation we were in the motorcade ride driving back to the White House, and I said, like, “Does the President really think that he lost?” And he said, “A lot of times he’ll tell me that he lost, but he wants to keep fighting it and he thinks that there might be enough to overturn the election, but, you know, he pretty much has acknowledged that he, that he’s lost.

07/12/22 Select Committee Hearing

July 12, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

Jason Van Tatenhove, Former Oath Keepers Spokesperson
Stephen Ayres, January 6th Defendant

Clips

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): According to White House visitor logs obtained by the Committee, members of Congress present at the White House on December 21 included Congressmen Brian Babin (TX), Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Harris (MD), Jody Hice (R-GA), Jim Jordan (OD), and Scott Perry (PA). Then Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) was also there.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): We’ve asked witnesses what happened during the December 21 meeting and we’ve learned that part of the discussion centered on the role of the Vice President during the counting of the electoral votes. These members of Congress were discussing what would later be known as the “Eastman Theory,” which was being pushed by Attorney John Eastman.

06/28/2022 Select Committee Hearing

June 28, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

Cassidy Hutchinson, Former Special Assistant to the President and Aide to the Chief of Staff

Clips

9:10 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Today’s witness, Ms. Cassidy Hutchinson, is another Republican and another former member of President Trump’s White House staff. Certain of us in the House of Representatives recall that Ms. Hutchinson once worked for House Republican whip Steve Scalise, but she is also a familiar face on Capitol Hill because she held a prominent role in the White House Legislative Affairs Office, and later was the principal aide to President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows.

10:10 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): In her role working for the White House Chief of Staff, Miss Hutchinson handled a vast number of sensitive issues. She worked in the West Wing, several steps down the hall from the Oval Office. Miss Hutchinson spoke daily with members of Congress, with high ranking officials in the administration, with senior White House staff, including Mr. Meadows, with White House Counsel lawyers, and with Mr. Tony Ornato, who served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. She also worked on a daily basis with members of the Secret Service who were posted in the White House. In short, Miss Hutchinson was in a position to know a great deal about the happenings in the Trump White House.

24:20 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On January 3, the Capitol Police issued a special event assessment. In that document, the Capitol Police noted that the Proud Boys and other groups planned to be in Washington DC on January 6, and indicated that quote, “unlike previous post election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter protesters, as they were previously, but rather, Congress itself is the target on the Sixth.

27:45 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Of course the world now knows that the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6 had many different types of weapons. When a President speaks, the Secret Service typically requires those attending to pass through metal detectors known as magnetometers, or mags for short.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): The Select Committee has learned about reports from outside the magnetometers and has obtained police radio transmissions identifying individuals with firearms, including AR-15s near the Ellipse on the morning of January 6. Let’s listen. Police Officer #1: Blue jeans and a blue jean jacket and underneath the blue jacket complaintants both saw the top of an AR 15. Police Officer #2: Any white males brown cowboy boots, they had Glock-style pistols in their waistbands. Police Officer #3: 8736 with the message that subject weapon on his right hip. Police Officer #4: Motor one, make sure PPD knows they have an elevated threat in the tree South side of Constitution Avenue. Look for the “Don’t tread on me” flag, American flag facemask cowboy boots, weapon on the right side hip. Police Officer #5: I got three men walking down the street in fatigues and carrying AR-15s. Copy at Fourteenth and Independence.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): We’re going to show now an exchange of texts between you and Deputy Chief of Staff Ornato, and these text messages were exchanged while you were at the Ellipse. In one text, you write, “but the crowd looks good from this vantage point, as long as we get the shot. He was f—ing furious.” But could you tell us, first of all, who it is in the text who was furious? Cassidy Hutchinson: The he in that text that I was referring to was the President. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): And why was he furious, Miss Hutchinson? Cassidy Hutchinson: He was furious because he wanted the arena that we had on the Ellipse to be maxed out at capacity for all attendees. The advanced team had relayed to him that the mags were free flowing. Everybody who wanted to come in had already come in, but he still was angry about the extra space and wanted more people to come in.

Cassidy Hutchinson: And that’s what Tony [Ornato] had been trying to relate to him [President Trump] that morning. You know, it’s not the issue that we encountered on the campaign. We have enough space. They don’t want to come in right now, they have weapons they don’t want confiscated by the Secret Service. They’re fine on the Mall, they can see you on the Mall and they want to march straight to the Capitol from the Mall. But when we were in the off stage announced tent, I was part of a conversation — I was in the, I was in the vicinity of a conversation — where I overheard the President say something to the effect of you know, “I don’t think that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in, take the effing mags away.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On December 1, 2020, Attorney General Barr said in an interview that the Department of Justice had now not found evidence of widespread election fraud, sufficient to change the outcome of the election. Ms. Hutchinson, how did the President react to hearing that news? Cassidy Hutchinson: I left the office and went down to the dining room, and I noticed that the door was propped open in the valet was inside the dining room changing the tablecloth off of the dining room table. The valet had articulated that the President was extremely angry at the Attorney General’s AP interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Miss Hutchinson, Attorney General Barr described to the Committee the President’s angry reaction when he finally met with President Trump. Let’s listen. Former Attorney General Bill Barr: And I said, “Look, I I know that you’re dissatisfied with me and I’m glad to offer my resignation” and then he pounded the table very hard. Everyone sort of jumped and he said “Accepted.”

Reporter: Leader McCarthy, Do you condemn this violence? Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): I completely condemn the violence in the Capitol. What we’re currently watching unfold is un-American. I’m disappointed, I’m sad. This is not what our country should look like. This is not who we are. This is not the First Amendment. This has to stop and this has to stop now.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Did White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ever indicate that he was interested in receiving a Presidential Pardon related to January 6? Cassidy Hutchinson: Mr. Meadows did seek that pardon. Yes, ma’am.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): While our committee has seen many witnesses, including many Republicans, testify fully and forthrightly, this has not been true of every witness. And we have received evidence of one particular practice that raises significant concern. Our committee commonly asks witnesses connected to Mr. Trump’s administration or campaign whether they’d been contacted by any of their former colleagues, or anyone else who attempted to influence or impact their testimony, without identifying any of the individuals involved. Let me show you a couple of samples of answers we received to this question. First, here’s how one witness described phone calls from people interested in that witness’s testimony. “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the right team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World. And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my interviews with the committee.” Here’s another sample in a different context. This is a call received by one of our witnesses. “A person let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.” I think most Americans know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns.

06/23/22 Select Committee Hearing

June 23, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

Jeffrey A. Rosen, Former Acting Attorney General
Richard Donoghue, Former Acting Deputy Attorney General
Steven Engel, Former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
Eric Herschmann, Former White House Senior Advisor

Clips

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): From the time you took over from Attorney General Barr until January 3, how often did President Trump contact you or the Department to push allegations of election fraud? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: So between December 23 and January 3, the president either called me or met with me virtually every day, with one or two exceptions like Christmas Day

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): Again, I join my colleagues in calling on Attorney General Barr to immediately let us know what he’s doing. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): We’re already working on challenging the certified electors. And what about the court? How pathetic are the courts? Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): January 6, I’m joining with the fighters in the Congress, and we are going to object to electors from states that didn’t run clean elections. Democracy is left undefended if we accept the result of a stolen election without fighting with every bit of vigor we can muster. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): The ultimate date of significance is January 6. This is how the process works. The ultimate arbiter here, the ultimate check and balance, is the United States Congress. And when something is done in an unconstitutional fashion, which happened in several of these states, we have a duty to step forward and have this debate and have this vote on the 6th of January.

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: So both the Acting Attorney General [Rosen] and I tried to explain to the President on this occasion, and on several other occasions that the Justice Department has a very important, very specific, but very limited role in these elections. States run their elections. We are not quality control for the states. We are obviously interested in and have a mission that relates to criminal conduct in relation to federal elections. We also have related civil rights responsibilities. So we do have an important role, but the bottom line was if a state ran their election in such a way that it was defective, that is to the state or Congress to correct. It is not for the Justice Department to step in. And I certainly understood the President, as a layman, not understanding why the Justice Department didn’t have at least a civil role to step in and bring suit on behalf of the American people. We tried to explain that to him. The American people do not constitute the client for the United States Justice Department. The one and only client of the United States Justice Department is the United States government. And the United States government does not have standing, as we were repeatedly told by our internal teams. Office of Legal Counsel, led by Steve Engel, as well as the Office of the Solicitor General researched it and gave us thorough clear opinions that we simply did not have standing and we tried to explain that to the President on numerous occasions.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Let’s take a look at another one of your notes. You also noted that Mr. Rosen said to Mr. Trump, quote, “DOJ can’t and won’t snap its fingers and change the outcome of the election.” How did the President respond to that, sir? Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: He responded very quickly and said, essentially, that’s not what I’m asking you to do. What I’m just asking you to do is just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican Congressmen.

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: There were isolated instances of fraud. None of them came close to calling into question the outcome of the election in any individual State.

January 6 Committee Lawyer: And was representative Gaetz requesting a pardon? Eric Herschmann: Believe so. The general tone was, we may get prosecuted because we were defensive of, you know, the President’s positions on these things. A pardon that he was discussing, requesting, was as broad as you could describe, from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things. He had mentioned Nixon and I said Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad.

January 6 Committee Lawyer: And are you aware of any members of Congress seeking pardons? Cassidy Hutchinson: I guess Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Brooks, I know, both advocated for, there to be a blanket pardon for members involved in that meeting and a handful of other members that weren’t at the December 21 meeting as the preemptive pardons. Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon and he was doing so since early December. I’m not sure why. Mr. Gaetz had reached out to me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows about receiving a Presidential pardon. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Did they all contact you? Cassidy Hutchinson: Not all of them, but several of them did. January 6 Committee Lawyer: So you’d be mentioned Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Brooks. Cassidy Hutchinson: Mr. Biggs did. Mr. Jordan talks about congressional pardons but he never asked me for one. It was more for an update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress. Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well. Mr. Perry asked for a pardon too, I’m sorry. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Mr. Perry, did he talk to you directly? Cassidy Hutchinson: Yes, he did.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Mr. Clark was the acting head of the Civil Division and head of Environmental and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. Do either of those divisions have any role whatsoever in investigating election fraud, sir? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: No. And and to my awareness, Jeff Clark had had no prior involvement of any kind with regard to the work that the department was doing. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Is there a policy that governs who can have contact directly with the White House? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: Yes. So across many administrations for a long period of time, there’s a policy that particularly with regard to criminal investigations restricts at both the White House and the Justice Department and those more sensitive issues to the highest ranks. So for criminal matters, the policy for a long time has been that only the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General from the DOJ side can have conversations about criminal matters with the White House, or the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General can authorize someone for a specific item with their permission. But the idea is to make sure that the top rung of the Justice Department knows about it, and is in the thing to control it and make sure only appropriate things are done. Steven Engel: The purpose of these these policies is to keep these communications as infrequent, and at the highest levels as possible, just to make sure that people who are less careful about it who don’t really understand these implications, such as Mr. Clark, don’t run afoul of those contact policies. Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: He acknowledged that shortly before Christmas, he had gone to a meeting in the Oval Office with the President. That, of course, surprised me. And I asked him, How did that happen? And he was defensive, he said it had been unplanned, that he had been talking to someone he referred to as “General Perry,” but I believe is Congressman Perry, and that, unbeknownst to him, he was asked to go to a meeting and he didn’t know it, but it turned out it was at the Oval — he found himself at the Oval Office. And he was apologetic for that. And I said, Well, you didn’t tell me about it. It wasn’t authorized. And you didn’t even tell me after the fact. You know, this is not not appropriate. But he was contrite and said it had been inadvertent and it would not happen again and that if anyone asked him to go to such a meeting, he would notify [Former Acting Deputy Attorney General] Rich Donohue and me. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): On the same day Acting Attorney General Rosen told Mr. Clark to stop talking to the White House, Representative Perry was urging Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to elevate Clark within the Department of Justice. You can now see on the screen behind me a series of tasks between representative Perry and Mr. Meadows. They show that Representative Perry requested that Mr. Clark be elevated within the department. Representative Perry tells Mr. Meadows on December 26, that quote, “Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down, 11 days to January 6 and 25 days to inauguration. We’ve got to get going!” Representative Perry followed up and says quote, “Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won’t work especially with the FBI. They will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done.” Mr. Meadows responds with “I got it. I think I understand. Let me work on the deputy position.” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Mr. Donohue on December 28, Mr. Clark emailed you and Mr. Rosen a draft letter that he wanted you to sign and send to Georgia State officials. This letter claims that the US Department of Justice’s investigations have quote, “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the state of Georgia.” The letter also said this: quote, “in light of these developments, the Department recommends that the Georgia General Assembly should convene in special session,” end quote, and consider approving a new slate of electors. Steven Engel: The States had chosen their electors, the electors had been certified, they’d cast their votes, they had been sent to Washington DC. Neither Georgia nor any of the other States on December 28, or whenever this was, was in a position to change those votes. Essentially, the election had happened. The only thing that hadn’t happened was the formal counting of the votes. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: I had to read both the email and the attached letter twice to make sure I really understood what he was proposing because it was so extreme to me, I had a hard time getting my head around it initially. But I read it and I did understand it for what he intended and I had to sit down and sort of compose what I thought was an appropriate response. In my response, I explained a number of reasons this is not the Department’s role to suggest or dictate to State legislatures how they should select their electors. But more importantly, this was not based on fact, that this was actually contrary to the facts, as developed by Department investigations over the last several weeks and months. So I responded to that. And for the Department to insert itself into the political process’s way, I think would have had grave consequences for the country. It may very well have spiraled us into a Constitutional crisis. And I wanted to make sure that he understood the gravity of the situation because he didn’t seem to really appreciate it. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): President Trump rushed back early from Mar-a-Lago on December 31, and called an emergency meeting with the Department’s leadership. Mr. Donohue, during this meeting, did the President tell you that he would remove you and Mr. Rosen because you weren’t declaring there was election fraud? Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: Toward the end of the meeting, the President, again was getting very agitated. And he said, “People tell me I should just get rid of both of you. I should just remove you and make a change in the leadership, put Jeff Clark and maybe something will finally get done.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Mr. Rosen during a January 2 meeting with Mr. Clark, did you confront him again about his contact with the President? And if so, can you describe that? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: We had — it was a contentious meeting where we were chastising him that he was insubordinate, he was out of line, he had not honored his own representations of what he would do. And he raised again, that he thought that letter should go out. And we were not receptive to that. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): So in that meeting, did Mr. Clark say he would turn down the President’s offer if you reversed your position and sign the letter? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: Yes. Subsequently, he told me that on the on Sunday the 3rd. He told me that the timeline had moved up, and that the President had offered him the job and that he was accepting it. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): White House Call Logs obtained by the Committee show that by 4:19pm, on January 3, the White House had already begun referring to Mr. Clark as the Acting Attorney General. Let’s ask about that, what was your reaction to that? Former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen: Well, you know, on the one hand, I wasn’t going to accept being fired by my subordinate. So I wanted to talk to the President directly. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: So the four of us knew, but no one else, aside from Jeff Clark of course, knew what was going on until late that Sunday afternoon. We chose to keep a close hold, because we didn’t want to create concern or panic in the Justice Department leadership. But at this point, I asked the Acting AG [Rosen], what else can I do to help prepare for this meeting in the Oval Office, and he said, You and Pat [Cipollone] should get the Assistant Attorney Generals on the phone, and it’s time to let them know what’s going on. Let’s find out what they may do if there’s a change in leadership, because that will help inform the conversation at the Oval Office. We got most, not all, but most of the AAGs on the phone. We very quickly explained to them what the situation was. [They] essentially said they would leave, they would resign en mass if the President made that change in the department leadership. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): DOJ leadership arrived at the White House. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: The conversation this point was really about whether the President should remove Jeff Rosen and replace him with Jeff Clark. And everyone in the room, I think, understood that that meant that letter would go out. And at some point, the conversation turned to whether Jeff Clark was even qualified, competent to run the Justice Department, which in my mind, he clearly was not. And it was a heated conversation. I thought it was useful to point out to the President that Jeff Clark simply didn’t have the skills, the ability and the experience to run the Department. And so I said, “Mr. President, you’re talking about putting a man in that seat who has never tried a criminal case, who’s never conducted a criminal investigation, he’s telling you that he’s going to take charge of the department, 115,000 employees, including the entire FBI, and turn the place on a dime and conduct nationwide criminal investigations that will produce results in a matter of days. It’s impossible. It’s absurd. It’s not going to happen, and it’s going to fail. He has never been in front of a trial jury, a grand jury. He’s never even been to Chris Wray’s office.” I said at one point, “if you walked into Chris Wray’s office, one, would you know how to get there and, two, if you got there, would he even know who you are? And you really think that the FBI is going to suddenly start following you orders? It’s not going to happen. He’s not competent.” And that’s the point at which Mr. Clark tried to defend himself by saying, “Well, I’ve been involved in very significant civil and environmental litigation. I’ve argued many appeals and appellate courts and things of that nature.” And then I pointed out that, yes, he was an environmental lawyer, and I didn’t think that was appropriate background to be running in the United States Justice Department. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Did anybody in there support Mr. Clark?

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: No one. Along those lines, he [former President Trump] said, “so suppose I do this, suppose I replace him, Jeff Rosen, with him, Jeff Clark, what would you do?” And I said, “Mr. President, I would resign immediately. I’m not working one minute for this guy [Clark], who I just declared was completely incompetent.” And so the President immediately turned to to Mr. Engel. Steven Engel: My recollection is that when the President turned to me and said, “Steve, you wouldn’t leave, would you?” I said, “Mr. President, I’ve been with you through four Attorneys General, including two Acting Attorneys General, but I couldn’t be part of this.” Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: And I said, and we’re not the only ones. No one cares if we resign. If Steve and I go, that’s fine, it doesn’t matter. But I’m telling you what’s going to happen. You’re gonna lose your entire Department leadership, every single AAG will walk out on you. Your entire Department of leadership will walk out within hours.” And I said, “Mr. President, within 24…48…72 hours, you could have hundreds and hundreds of resignations of the leadership of your entire Justice Department because of your actions. What’s that going to say about you?” Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: And then the other thing that I said was that, you know, look, all anyone is going to sort of think about when they see this…no one is going to read this letter….all anyone is going to think is that you went through two Attorneys General in two weeks until you found the environmental guy to sign this thing. And so the story is not going to be that the Department of Justice has found massive corruption that would have changed results of the election. It’s going to be the disaster of Jeff Clark. I think at that point Pat Cipollone said, “Yeah, this is a murder suicide pact, this letter.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Mr. Cipollone, the White House Counsel, told the Committee that Mr. Engels response had a noticeable impact on the President, that this was a turning point in the conversation. Mr. Donohue, towards the end of this meeting, did the President asked you what was going to happen to Mr. Clark? Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue: He did. When we finally got to, I’d say, the last 15 minutes of the meeting, the President’s decision was apparent, he announced it. Jeff Clark tried to scrape his way back and asked the President to reconsider. The President double down said “No, I’ve made my decision. That’s it. We’re not going to do it.” And then he turned to me and said, “so what happens to him now?” Meaning Mr. Clark. He understood that Mr. Clark reported to me. And I didn’t initially understand the question. I said, “Mr. President?” and he said, “Are you going to fire him?” And I said, “I don’t have the authority to fire him. He’s the Senate confirmed Assistant Attorney General.” And he said, “Well, who has the authority to fire him?” And I said, “Only you do, sir.” And he said, “Well, I’m not going to fire him.” I said, “Alright, well, then we should all go back to work.”

06/21/22 Select Committee Hearing

June 21, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

Rusty Bowers, Arizona House Speaker
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia Secretary of State Chief Operating Officer
Wandrea ArShaye, “Shaye” Moss, former Georgia election worker
Ronna Romney McDaniel, RNC Chair
Justin Clark, former Trump Campaign lawyer
Robert Sinners, former Trump campaign staffer
Andrew Hitt, Former Wisconsin Republican Party Chair
Laura Cox, Former Michigan Republican Party Chair
Josh Roselman, Investigative Counsel for the J6 Committee
John Eastman, Former Trump Lawyer
Mike Shirkey, Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate
Angela McCallum, Trump Campaign caller
Rudy Giuliani

Clips

Josh Roselman: My name is Josh Roselman, I’m an Investigative Counsel for the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol. Beginning in late November 2020. The President and his lawyers started appearing before state legislators, urging them to give their electoral votes to Trump, even though he lost the popular vote. This was a strategy with both practical and legal elements. The Select Committee has obtained an email from just two days after the election, in which a Trump campaign lawyer named Cleata Mitchell asked another Trump lawyer, John Eastman, to write a memo justifying the idea. Eastman prepared a memo attempting to justify this strategy, which was circulated to the Trump White House, Rudy Giuliani’s legal team, and state legislators around the country and he appeared before the Georgia State Legislature to advocate for it publicly. John Eastman: You could also do what the Florida Legislature was prepared to do, which is to adopt a slate of electors yourself. And when you add in the mix of the significant statistical anomalies in sworn affidavits and video evidence of outright election fraud, I don’t think it’s just your authority to do that, but quite frankly, I think you have a duty to do that to protect the integrity of the election here in Georgia. Josh Roselman: But Republican officials in several states released public statements recognizing that President Trump’s proposal was unlawful. For instance, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp called the proposal unconstitutional, while Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers wrote that the idea would undermine the rule of law. The pressure campaign to get state legislators to go along with this scheme intensified when President Trump invited delegations from Michigan and Pennsylvania to the White House. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Either you or speaker Chatfield, did you make the point to the President, that you were not going to do anything that violated Michigan law? Mike Shirkey: I believe we did. Whether or not it was those exact words or not, I think the words that I would have more likely used is, “we are going to follow the law.” Josh Roselman: Nevertheless, the pressure continued. The next day President Trump tweeted quote, “hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself. THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!!” He posted multiple messages on Facebook, listing the contact information for state officials and urging his supporters to contact them to quote “demand a vote on decertification.” These efforts also involves targeted outreach to state legislators from President Trump’s lawyers and from Trump himself. Angela McCallum: Hi, my name is Angela McCallum, I’m calling from Trump campaign headquarters in Washington DC. You do have the power to reclaim your authority and send us a slate of Electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence. Josh Roselman: Another legislator, Pennsylvania House Speaker Brian Cutler, received daily voicemails from Trump’s lawyers in the last week of November. Cutler felt that the outreach was inappropriate and asked his lawyers to tell Rudy Giuliani to stop calling, but Giuliani continued to reach out. Rudy Giuliani: I understand that you don’t want to talk to me now. I just want to bring some facts to your attention and talk to you as a fellow Republican. Josh Roselman: These ads were another element in the effort. The Trump campaign spent millions of dollars running ads online and on television. Commercial Announcer: The evidence is overwhelming. Call your governor and legislators demand they inspect the machines and hear the evidence. Fake electors scheme

Casey Lucier: My name is Casey Lucier. I’m an Investigative Counsel for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol. On November 18, a lawyer working with the Trump campaign named Kenneth Chesebro wrote a memo arguing that the Trump campaign should organize its own electors in the swing states that President Trump had lost. The Select Committee received testimony that those close to President Trump began planning to organize fake electors for Trump in states that Biden won in the weeks after the election. At the President’s direct request, the RNC assisted the campaign in coordinating this effort. January 6 Committee Lawyer: What did the President say when he called you? Ronna Romney McDaniel: Essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing change the result of any of the States, I think more just helping them reach out and assemble them. But the My understanding is the campaign did take the lead, and we just were helping them in that role. Casey Lucier: As President Trump and his supporters continued to lose lawsuits, some campaign lawyers became convinced that convening electors in states that Trump lost was no longer appropriate. Justin Clark: I just remember I either replied or called somebody saying, unless we have litigation pending this, like in the states, like, I don’t think this is appropriate, or you know, this isn’t the right thing to do. I’m out. Matt Morgan: At that point, I had Josh Findlay email Mr. Chesebro, politely, to say, “This is your task. You are responsible for the Electoral College issues moving forward.” And this was my way of taking that responsibility to zero. Casey Lucier: The Committee learned the White House Counsel’s Office also felt the plan was potentially illegal. January 6 Committee Lawyer: And so to be clear, did you hear the White House Counsel’s office saying that this plan to have alternate electors meet and cast votes for Donald Trump in states that he had lost was not legally sound? Cassidy Hutchinson: Yes, sir. Casey Lucier: The Select Committee interviewed several of the individual fake electors, as well as Trump campaign staff who helped organize the effort. Robert Sinners: We were just, you know, kind of useful idiots or rubes at that point. You know, a strong part of me really feels that it’s just kind of as the road continued, and as that was failure, failure, failure that that got formulated as what do we have on the table? Let’s just do it. January 6 Committee Lawyer: And now after what we’ve told you today about the Select Committee’s investigation about the conclusion of the professional lawyers on the campaign staff, Justin Clark, Matt Morgan and Josh Findlay, about their unwillingness to participate in the convening of these electors, how does that contribute to your understanding of these issues? Robert Sinners: I’m angry, I’m angry. Because I think in a sense, you know, no one really cared if people were potentially putting themselves in jeopardy. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Would you have not wanted to participate in this any further, as well? Robert Sinners: I absolutely would not have had I know that the three main lawyers for the campaign that I’ve spoken to in the past, and were leading up, we’re not on board. Yeah. Andrew Hitt: I was told that these would only count if a court ruled in our favor. So that would have been using our electors. Well, it would have been using our electors in ways that we weren’t told about and we wouldn’t have supported. Casey Lucier: Documents obtained by the Select Committee indicate that instructions were given to the electors in several states that they needed to cast their ballots in complete secrecy. Because the scheme involved fake electors, those participating in certain states had no way to comply with state election laws, like where the electors were supposed to meet. One group of fake electors even considered hiding overnight to ensure that they could access the State Capitol, as required in Michigan. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Did Mr. Norton say who he was working with at all on this effort to have electors meet? Laura Cox: He said he was working with the President’s campaign. He told me that the Michigan Republican electors were planning to meet in the Capitol and hide overnight so that they could fulfill the role of casting their vote per law in the Michigan chambers and I told him in no uncertain terms that that was insane and inappropriate. Casey Lucier: In one state, the fake electors even asked for a promise that the campaign would pay their legal fees if they got sued or charged with a crime. Ultimately, fake electors did meet on December 14, 2020 in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Nevada and Wisconsin. At the request of the Trump campaign, the electors from these battleground states signed documents falsely asserting that they were the quote, “duly elected” electors from their state and submitted them to the National Archives and to Vice President Pence in his capacity as President of the Senate. In an email produced to the Select Committee, Dr. Eastman told the Trump campaign representative that it did not matter that the electors had not been approved by a state authority. Quote, “the fact that we have multiple slates of electors demonstrates the uncertainty of either. That should be enough.” He urged that Pence “act boldly and be challenged.” Documents produced to the Select Committee show that the Trump campaign took steps to ensure that the physical copies of the fake electors’ electoral votes from two states were delivered to Washington for January 6. Text messages exchanged between Republican Party officials in Wisconsin show that on January 4, the Trump campaign asked for someone to fly their fake electors’ documents to Washington. A staffer for Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson texted a staffer for Vice President Pence just minutes before the beginning of the Joint Session. This staffer stated that Senator Johnson wished to hand deliver to the Vice President the fake electors’ votes from Michigan and Wisconsin. The Vice President’s aide unambiguously instructed them not to deliver the fake votes to the Vice President. Even though the fake elector slates were transmitted to Congress and the Executive Branch, the Vice President held firm and his position that his role was to count lawfully submitted electoral votes.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): Brad Raffensperger is the 29th Secretary of State of Georgia, serving in this role since 2019. As an elected official, and a Republican Secretary, Raffensperger is responsible for supervising elections in Georgia and maintaining the state’s public records.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): Speaker Bowers, thank you for being with us today. You’re the speaker of the Arizona House and a self-described conservative Republican. You campaigned for President Trump and with him during the 2020 election. Is it fair to say that you wanted Donald Trump to win a second term in office? Please? Rusty Bowers: Yes, sir. Thank you. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): And is it your understanding that President Biden was the winner of the popular vote in Arizona in 2020? Rusty Bowers: Yes, sir.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Before we begin with the questions that I had prepared for you, I want to ask you about a statement that former President Trump issued, which I received just prior to the hearing. Former President Trump begins by calling you a RINO, Republican in Name Only. He then references a conversation in November 2020, in which he claims that you told him that the election was rigged, and that he had won Arizona. To quote the former President, “during the conversation, he told me the election was rigged and that I won Arizona,” unquote. Is that false? Rusty Bowers: Anywhere, anyone, anytime that has said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): And when the former President, in his statement today, claimed that you told him that he won Arizona, is that also false? Rusty Bowers: That is also false. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Mr. Bowers, I understand that after the election, you received a phone call from President Trump and Rudy Giuliani, in which they discussed the result of the presidential election in Arizona. If you would, tell us about that call. Rusty Bowers: Mr. Giuliani came on first. And niceties…then Mr. Trump, President Trump, then-President Trump came on. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): During the conversation did you ask Mr. Giuliani for proof of these allegations of fraud that he was making? Rusty Bowers: On multiple occasions, yes. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): And when you asked him for evidence of this fraud, what did he say? Rusty Bowers: He said that they did have proof. And I asked him, “Do you have names?” [He said] for example, we have 200,000 illegal immigrants, some large number, five or six thousand, dead people, etc. And I said, “Do you have their names?” Yes. “Will you give them to me?” Yes. The President interrupted and said, “Give the man what he needs Rudy.” He said, “I will.” And that happened on at least two occasions, that interchange in the conversation. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Did you ever receive from him that evidence either during the call, after the call, or to this day? Rusty Bowers: Never. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): What was the ask during this call? Rusty Bowers: The ones I remember, were first, that we would hold — that I would allow an official committee at at the Capitol so that they could hear this evidence, and that we could take action thereafter. I said, “to what end? To what end the hearing.” He said, well, we have heard by an official high up in the Republican legislature that there is a legal theory or a legal ability in Arizona, that you can remove the the electors of President Biden and replace them. And we would like to have the legitimate opportunity, through the committee, to come to that end and and remove that. And I said that’s, that’s something that’s totally new to me. I’ve never heard of any such thing. And I would never do anything of such magnitude without deep consultation with qualified attorneys. And I said, I’ve got some good attorneys, and I’m going to give you their names. But you’re asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Did you also receive a call from US Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona on the morning of January 6? Rusty Bowers: I did. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): And what did Mr. Biggs asked you to do? Rusty Bowers: I believe that was the day that the vote was occurring in each state to have certification or to declare the certification of the electors. And he asked if I would sign on both to a letter that had been sent from my State, and/or that I would support the decertification of the electors. And I said I would not.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Speaking Bowers, did the President call you again later in December? Rusty Bowers: He did, sir. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Did you tell the president in that second call that you supported him, that you voted for him, but that you are not going to do anything illegal for him? Rusty Bowers: I did, sir. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Nevertheless, his lawyer John Eastman called you some days later, and what did Dr. Eastman want you to do? Rusty Bowers: That we would, in fact, take a vote to overthrow — or I shouldn’t say overthrow — that we would decertify the electors, and that we had plenary authority to do so. But I said, “What would you have me do?” And he said, “Just do it and let the court sorted out.” And I said, “You’re asking me to do something that’s never been done in history, the history of the United States. And I’m going to put my state through that without sufficient proof? And that’s going to be good enough with me? That I would, I would put us through that, my state that I swore to uphold, both in Constitution and in law? No, sir.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): I want to look even more deeply at the fake electoral scheme. Every four years, citizens from all over the United States go to the polls to elect the President. Under our Constitution, when we cast our votes for president, we are actually voting to send electors pledged to our preferred candidate to the Electoral College. In December, the electors in each state meet, cast their votes, and send those votes to Washington. There was only one legitimate slate of electors from each state. On the Sixth day of January, Congress meets in a joint session to count those votes, and the winner of the Electoral College vote becomes the president.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): Secretary Raffensburger, thank you for being here today. You’ve been a public servant in Georgia since 2015, serving first as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, and then since January 2019, as Georgia Secretary of State as a self described conservative Republican. Is it fair to say that you wanted President Trump to win the 2020 election? Brad Raffensperger: Yes, it is.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Secretary Raffensperger, did Joe Biden win the 2020 presidential election in Georgia and by what margin? Brad Raffensperger: President Biden carried the state of Georgia by approximately 12,000 votes.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Bear in mind as we discuss this call today that by this point in time, early January, the election in Georgia had already been certified. But perhaps more important, the President of the United States had already been told repeatedly by his own top Justice Department officials that the claims he was about to make to you about massive fraud in Georgia were completely false.

06/16/22 Select Committee Hearing

June 16, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

Greg Jacob, Former Counsel to Vice President Mike Pence
J. Michael Luttig, Retired judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and informal advisor to Mike Pence
Julie Radford, Former Chief of Staff for Ivanka Trump
Eric Herschmann, Former White House Senior Advisor
Nicholas Luna, Former Assistant to President Trump
Gen. Keith Kellogg, Former National Security Advisor to VP Pence

Clips

16:45 Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS): Greg Jacob was Counsel to Vice President Pence. He conducted a thorough analysis of the role of the Vice President in the Joint Session of Congress under the Constitution, the Electoral Count Act, and 230 years of historical practice. But he also has firsthand information about the attack on the Capitol because he lived through it. He was with the Vice President and his own life was in danger.

31:05 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Eastman was, at the time, a law professor at Chapman University Law School. He prepared a memo outlining the nonsensical theory that the Vice President could decide the outcome of the election at the Joint Session of Congress on January 6.

32:50 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): Dr. Eastman himself admitted in an email that the fake electors had no legal weight. Referring to the fake electors as, quote “dead on arrival in Congress” end quote, because they did not have a certification from their States.

46:40 Greg Jacob: We had a constitutional crisis in 1876 because in that year, multiple slates of electors were certified by multiple slates [sic]. And when it came time to count those votes, the antecedent question of “which ones?” had to be answered. That required the appointment of an independent commission. That commission had to resolve that question. And the purpose of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 had been to resolve those latent ambiguities. Now I’m in complete agreement with Judge Luttig. It is unambiguous that the Vice President does not have the authority to reject electors. There is no suggestion of any kind that it does. There is no mention of rejecting or objecting to electors anywhere in the 12th amendment. And so the notion that the Vice President could do that certainly is not in the text. But the problem that we had and that John Eastman raised in our discussions was, we had all seen that in Congress in 2000, in 2004, in 2016, there had been objections raised to various states. And those had even been debated in 2004. And so, here you have an Amendment that says nothing about objecting or rejecting. And yet we did have some recent practice of that happening within the terms of the Electoral Count Act. So we started with that.

1:20:45 Greg Jacob: He again tried to say, but I don’t think the courts will get involved in this. They’ll invoke the political question doctrine and so if the courts stay out of it, that will mean that we’ll have the 10 days for the States to weigh in and resolve it. And then, you know, they’ll send back the Trump slates of electors, and the people will be able to accept that. I expressed my vociferous disagreement with that point, I did not think that this was a political question. Among other things, if the courts did not step in to resolve this, there was nobody else to resolve it. You would be in a situation where you have a standoff between the President of the United States and, counterfactually, the Vice President of the United States saying that we’ve exercised authorities that, Constitutionally, we think we have by which we have deemed ourselves the winners of the election. You would have an opposed House and Senate disagreeing with that. You would have State legislatures that, to that point, I mean, Republican leaders across those legislatures had put together, had put out statements, and we collected these for the Vice President as well, that the people had spoken in their States and that they had no intention of reversing the outcome of the election. We did receive some signed letters that Mr. Eastman forwarded us by minorities of leaders in those States, but no State had any legislative house that indicated that added any interest in it. So you would have had just a an unprecedented Constitutional jump ball situation with that standoff. And as I expressed to him, that issue might well then have to be decided in the streets. Because if we can’t work it out politically, we’ve already seen how charged up people are about this election. And so it would be a disastrous situation to be in. So I said, I think the courts will intervene. I do not see a commitment in the Constitution of the question, whether the Vice President has that authority to some other actor to resolve there. There’s arguments about whether Congress and the Vice President jointly have a Constitutional commitment to generally decide electoral vote issues. I don’t think that they have any authority to object or reject them. I don’t see it in the 12th Amendment, but nonetheless. And I concluded by saying, “John, in light of everything that we’ve discussed, can’t we just both agree that this is a terrible idea?” And he couldn’t quite bring himself to say yes to that. But he very clearly said, “Well, yeah, I see we’re not going to be able to persuade you to do this.” And that was how the meeting concluded.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): We understand that the Vice President started his day on January 4 with a rally in Georgia for the Republican candidates in the US Senate runoff. When the Vice President returned to Washington, he was summoned to meet with the President regarding the upcoming Joint Session of Congress. Mr. Jacob, during that meeting between the President and the Vice President, what theories did Dr. Eastman present regarding the role of the Vice President in counting the electoral votes? Greg Jacob: During the meeting on January 4, Mr. Eastman was opining there were two legally viable arguments as to authorities that the Vice President could exercise two days later on January 6. One of them was that he could reject electoral votes outright. The other was that he could use his capacity as Presiding Officer to suspend the proceedings and declare essentially a 10-day recess during which States that he deemed to be disputed, there was a list of five to seven states, the exact number changed from conversation to conversation, but that the Vice President could sort of issue and demand to the State Legislatures in those States to re-examine the election and declare who had won each of those States. So he said that both of those were legally viable options. He said that he did not recommend, upon questioning, he did not recommend what he called the “more aggressive option,” which was reject outright, because he thought that that would be less politically palatable. The imprimatur of State Legislature authority would be necessary to ultimately have public acceptance of an outcome in favor of President Trump. And so he advocated that the preferred course of action would be the procedural route of suspending the Joint Session and sending the election back to the States. And again, the Vice President’s first instinct here is so decisive on this question, 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. And then we went to history. We examined every single electoral vote count that had happened in Congress since the beginning of the country. And critically, no Vice President, in 230 years of history, had ever claimed to have that kind of authority, hadn’t claimed authority to reject electoral votes, had not claimed authority to return electoral votes back to the States. In the entire history of the United States, not once had a Joint Session, ever returned electoral votes back to the States to be counted. So the history was absolutely decisive. And again, part of my discussion with Mr. Eastman was, if you were right, don’t you think Al Gore might have liked to have known in 2000, that he had authority to just declare himself President of the United States? Did you think that the Democrat lawyers just didn’t think of this very obvious quirk that he could use to do that? And of course, he acknowledged Al Gore did not and should not have had that authority at that point in time. So at the conclusion of the meeting on the 4th, the President had asked that our office meet with Mr. Eastman the next day to hear more about the positions he had expressed at that meeting, and the Vice President indicated that….offered me up as his counsel, to fulfill that duty. We had an extended discussion an hour and a half to two hours on January 5. What most surprised me about that meeting was that when Mr. Eastman came in, he said, “I’m here to request that you reject the electors.” So on the 4th, that had been the path that he had said, “I’m not recommending that you do that.” But on the 5th, he came in and expressly requested that. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): Mr. Jacob did you, Mr. Short, and the Vice President have a call later that day, again, with the President and Dr. Eastman? Greg Jacob: So, yes, we did. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): And what did Dr. Eastman requested on that call? Greg Jacob: On that phone call, Mr. Eastman stated that he had heard us loud and clear that morning, we were not going to be rejecting electors. But would we be open to considering the other course that we had discussed on the 4th, which would be to suspend the Joint Session and request that State Legislatures reexamine certification of the electoral votes? Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): Trump issued a statement claiming the Vice President had agreed that he could determine the outcome of the election, despite the fact that the Vice President had consistently rejected that position. Mr. Jacob, how did the Vice President’s team reacts to the statement from the President? Greg Jacob: So we were shocked and disappointed, because whoever had written and put that statement out, it was categorically untrue. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): Mr. Jacob, did you go to the Vice President’s residences on the morning of January 6? Greg Jacob: Yes. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): Did the Vice President have a call with the President that morning? Greg Jacob: He did. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): The President had several family members with him in the Oval that morning for that call. I’d like to show you what they and others told the Select Committee about that call. Eric Herschmann: When I got in, somebody called me and said that the family and others were in the Oval and do I want to come up? So I went upstairs. Ivanka Trump: It wasn’t a specific, formal discussion. It was very sort of loose and casual. When I entered the office the second time he was on the telephone with who I later found out to be was the Vice President. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Could you hear the Vice President or only hear the President’s end? Eric Herschmann: I could only hear the President’s end. Ivanka Trump: The conversation was pretty heated. Eric Herschmann: I think till it became somewhat in a louder tone, I don’t think anyone was paying attention to it initially. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Did you hear any part of the phone call, even if just this the end that the President was speaking from? Nicholas Luna: I did, yes. January 6 Committee Lawyer: All right. And what do you hear? Nicholas Luna: So as I was dropping off the note, my memory, I remember hearing the word “wimp.” He called him a wimp. I don’t remember if he said “You are a wimp,” “You’ll be a wimp.” Wimp is the word I remember. January 6 Committee Lawyer: It’s also been reported that the President said to the Vice President something to the effect that “you don’t have the courage to make a hard decision.” Gen. Keith Kellogg: Worse. I don’t remember exactly, but it was something like that, yeah. Like “you’re not tough enough to make the call.” Ivanka Trump: It was a different tone than I’d heard him take with the Vice President before. Nicholas Luna: Something to the effect, this is, the wording’s wrong….”I made the wrong decision four or five years ago.” January 6 Committee Lawyer: And the word that she relayed to, that the President called the Vice President. I apologize for being impolite, but do you remember what she said her father called him? Julie Radford: The P word.

Former President Donald Trump: I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become President and you are the happiest people. And 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. And they want to recertify their votes. They want to recertify, but the only way that can happen is if Mike Pence agrees to send it back. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do. And I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and the stupid people that he’s listening to. Trump Supporter: It’s real simple. Pence betrayed us. Which apparently everybody knew he was going to and the President mentioned it, like five times when he talked. You can go back and watch the President’s video. January 6th Attendee: I’m telling you what, I’m hearing that Pence, I heard that Pence just caved? Is that true? I’m hearing reports that Pence caved. I’m telling you, if Pence caved, we’re gonna drag motherfuckers through the streets. You fucking politicians are gonna get fucking drug through the streets. January 6th Streamer: Yeah, I guess the hope is that there’s such a show of force here that Pence will decide to just do the right thing according Trump. January 6th Crowd: Where is Pence? Bring out Pence! [chanting] Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): Although the President’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, has refused to testify before this committee, Mr. Meadows aide Ben Williamson, and White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews testified that Mr. Meadows went to the dining room near the Oval Office to tell the President about the violence at the Capitol before the President’s 2:24pm tweet. Narrator: President Trump tweeted, “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!” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): Our investigation found that immediately after the president’s 2:24pm tweet, the crowds both outside the capitol and inside the Capitol surged.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): The crowds inside the Capitol were able to overwhelm the law enforcement presence and the Vice President was quickly evacuated from his ceremonial Senate office to a secure location within the Capitol Complex. January 6 Committee Lawyer: Mr. Jacob, immediately before you and the Vice President were evacuated to a secure location within the Capitol, you hit send on an email to John Eastman explaining why his legal theory about the Vice President’s role was wrong. You ended your email by stating that, quote, “thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege.” And Dr. Eastman replied, and this is hard to believe, but his reply back to you was “the siege is because you and your boss,” presumably referring to the Vice President, United States, “did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so the American people can see for themselves what happened.” Mr. Jacob, later that day, you wrote again to Dr. Eastman. In that email, you wrote, and I quote, “did you advise the President that in your professional judgment the Vice President DOES NOT have the power to decide things unilaterally?” And you ended that email saying, “it does not appear that the President ever got the memo.” Dr. Eastman then replied, “he’s been so advised” and he ends him email with quote, “but you know him. Once he gets something in his head, it’s hard to get him to change course,” close quote. Greg Jacob: Late that evening, after the Joint Session had been reconvened, Mr. Eastman emailed me to point out that, in his view, the Vice President’s speech to the nation violated the Electoral Count Act, that the Electoral Count Act had been violated because the debate on Arizona had not been completed in two hours. Of course, it couldn’t be, since there was an intervening riot of several hours. And the speeches that the majority and minority leaders had been allowed to make also violated the Electoral Count Act because they hadn’t been counted against the debate time. And then he implored me, “now that we have established that the Electoral Count Act isn’t so sacrosanct as you have made it out to be, I implore you one last time, can the Vice President, please do what we’ve been asking him to do these last two days, suspend the Joint Session, send it back to the States.” Eric Herschmann: The day after, Eastman asked me about something dealing with Georgia and preserving something, potentially for appeal. And I said to him, “Are you out of your effing mind?” Right? 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 other effing words coming out of your mouth, no matter what, other than orderly transition. Repeat those words to me.” January 6 Committee Lawyer: And what did he said? Eric Herschmann: Eventually, he said “orderly transition.” I said, “Good, John. Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life. Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer. You’re going to need it.” And then I hung up on him.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA): In fact, just a few days later, Dr. Eastman emailed Rudy Giuliani and requested that he be included on a list of potential recipients of a Presidential pardon. Dr. Eastman did not receive his presidential pardon.

06/13/2022 Select Committee Hearing

June 13, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

William Stepien, Former Trump Campaign Manager
Chris Stirewalt, Former Fox News Political Editor
Benjamin Ginsberg, Election Attorney
BJay Pak, Former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia
Al Schmidt, Former City Commissioner of Philadelphia
Matt Morgan, Former General Counsel, Trump Campaign

Clips

10:15 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY): On January 2, the General Counsel of the Trump campaign, Matthew Morgan, this is the campaign’s chief lawyer, summarized what the campaign had concluded weeks earlier, that none of the arguments about fraud or anything else could actually change the outcome of the election. Matt Morgan: Generally discussed on that topic was whether the fraud, maladministration, abuse or irregularities, if aggregated and read most favorably to the campaign, would that be outcome determinative and I think everyone assessment in the room, at least amongst the staff, Mark Short, myself and Greg Jacob, was that it was not sufficient to be outcome determinative.

14:50 Former President Donald Trump: You know, the things with bundling and all of the things that are happening with votes by mail, where 1000s of votes are gathered, and I’m not gonna say which party does it but 1000s of votes are gathered and they come in and they’re dumped in a location and then all of a sudden you lose elections that you think you’re going to win. Former President Donald Trump: The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. The only way we’re going to lose this election. Former President Donald Trump: This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen. Did you see what’s going on? Take a look at West Virginia mailman selling the ballots. They’re being sold. They’re being dumped in rivers. This is a horrible thing for our country. This is not as no this is not going to end well.

29:40 Chris Stirewalt: In the 40 or 50 years, let’s say, that Americans have increasingly chosen to vote by mail or early or absentee, Democrats prefer that method of voting more than Republicans do. So basically, in every election, Republicans win election day, and Democrats win the early vote. And then you wait and start counting. And it depends on which ones you count first, but usually, it’s election day votes that get counted first, and you see the Republican shoot ahead. And then the process of bailing and binding and unbinding all those mail in votes, in some states, like Pennsylvania, refuse to count the votes first. So you have to wait for all of that to come in. So in every election, and certainly a national election, you expect to see the Republican with a lead, but it’s not really a lead. When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, it doesn’t matter which piece you put in first, it ends up with the same image. So for us, who cares? But that’s because no candidate had ever tried to avail themselves of this quirk. In the election counting system, we had gone to pains, and I’m proud of the pains we went to, to make sure that we were informing viewers that this was going to happen because of the Trump campaign. And the President had made it clear that they were going to try to exploit this anomaly. And we knew it was going to be bigger, because the percentage of early votes was higher, right? We went from about 45% of the votes being early and absentee to, because of the pandemic, that increased by about 50%. So we knew it would be longer. We knew it would be more. So we wanted to keep telling viewers, “Hey, look, the number that you see here is sort of irrelevant because it’s only a small percentage of these votes.”

1:06:05 Former Attorney General Bill Barr: And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff he has, you know, lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff. On the other hand, you know, when I went into this and would, you know, tell them how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts are.

1:10:25 Jeff Rosen: There were instances where the President would say, people are telling me this, or I’ve heard this, or I saw on television, you know, this, this impropriety in Atlanta or Pennsylvania or something, and we were in a position to say, people have already looked at that and we know that you’re getting bad information that that’s, that’s not correct. It’s been demonstrated to be incorrect from our point of view.

1:14:55 Richard Donoghue: I tried to, again put this in perspective and to try to put it in very clear terms to the President. And I said something to the effect of “Sir we’ve done dozens of investigations hundreds of interviews. The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. We’ve looked at Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. We’re doing our job. Much of the info you’re getting is false.”

06/09/2022 Select Committee Hearing

June 9, 2022
House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Witnesses:

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards
Nick Quested, Filmmaker and Documentarian

Clips

Bill Bar: I had three discussions with the President that I can recall. One was on November 2, one was on December 1, and one was on December 14. And I’ve been through sort of the give and take of those discussions. And in that context, I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the President was bullshit.

Robert Schornack: What really made me want to come was the fact that, you know, I had supported Trump all that time. I did believe, you know that the election was being stolen. And Trump asked us to come. Eric Barber: He personally asked for us to come to DC that day. And I thought, for everything he’s done for us, if that’s the only thing he’s gonna ask me, I’ll do it. Former President Donald Trump: We’re gonna walk down to the Capitol. Interviewer: Do you recall President Trump mentioning going to the Capitol during his speech? Eric Barber: Oh, yeah. So that’s one of my disappointments. He said he was gonna go go with us that he was gonna be there. John Wright: I know why I was there. And that’s because he called me there. And he laid out what is happening in our government. He laid it out. George Meza: I remember Donald Trump telling people to be there. Right. I mean, to support. Interviewer: You mentioned that the President asked you. Do you remember a specific message? Daniel Herendeen: Basically, he asked for us to come to DC and big things are gonna happen. Matthew Walter: What got me interested is he said I have something very important to say on January 6, or something like that. That’s what got me interested to be there. Robert Schornack: You know, Trump has only asked me for two things. He asked me for my vote and he asked me to come on January 6.

The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions

May 12, 2021
House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Witnesses:

Chris Miller, Former Acting Secretary of Defense
Robert Contee, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department

Clips

40:52 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): Mr. Miller, you were the Acting Secretary of Defense on January 6th, did President Trump as the commander in chief of the US Armed Forces call you during the January 6 attack to ensure the capital was being secured? Mr. Miller? Chris Miller: No, I had all the authority I needed from the president to fulfill my constitutional duties.

3:12:18 Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA): Were you ordered to delay deployment of troops? Chris Miller: 110% Absolutely not. No, that is not the case.

January 6 Attack on the Capitol

February 23, 2021
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Committee on Rules and Administration

Witnesses:

Robert Contee, Acting Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police Department Steven Sund, Former Chief of the United States Capitol Police

Clips

39:21 Robert Contee: MPD is prohibited by federal law from entering the Capitol or its grounds to patrol, make arrests or served warrants without the consent request of the Capitol Police board.

39:32 Robert Contee: The President of the United States, not the Mayor of the District of Columbia, controls the DC National Guard.

1:05:36 Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): Mr. Sund, you stated in your written testimony that you first made a request for the Capitol Police board to declare an emergency and authorized National Guard support on Monday January 4th, and that request was not granted. Steven Sund: That is correct, ma’am.

1:05:47 Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN): Your testimony makes clear that the current structure of the Capitol Police corps resulted in delays in bringing in assistance from the National Guard. Would you agree with that? That’s one of the things we want to look at. Steven Sund: Yes, ma’am.

1:07:23 Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN): Mr. Sund your written testimony states that you had no authority to request the assistance of the National Guard without an emergency declaration of the Capitol Police board. On what rule, regulation or authority did you base that view? Steven Sund: I’d have to go back and look at the specific rule, but it’s a standard. It’s a standing rule that we have. I cannot request the National Guard without a declaration of emergency from the Capitol Police board. It’s kind of interesting because it’s very similar to the fact you know, I can’t even give my men and women cold water on an excessively hot day without a declaration of emergency. It’s just a process that’s in place.

2:39:22 Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR): Have you ever held a drill to respond this situation where a crowd pushes past the exterior barricades? Steven Sund: Not this level of situation no, sir.


Executive Producer Recommended Source

“PREPARED REMARKS: Sanders Files Amendment on Microchip Legislation to Restrict Blank Check Corporate Welfare.” Jul 19, 2022. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Cover Art

Design by Only Child Imaginations


Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

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