For the third time this month, the Jan. 6 committee meets to unveil evidence that its investigators argue exposes the tender underbelly of a plot by former President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
On Thursday, June 16, the select committee will focus on how this scheme specifically targeted former Vice President Mike Pence and how longtime conservative attorney John Eastman helped the 45th president advance this agenda by promoting unconstitutional legal theories as the nation barreled toward a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol that left multiple people dead and hundreds injured.
Check out this reporter’s preview for today’s hearing at the related link below. And for coverage of the first two hearings, check below the link to today’s livestream. You can also follow me on Twitter.
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Today’s hearing starts at 1 PM ET. Two additional hearings are still on the schedule for June 21 and June 23. Both should air at 1 PM ET. As of Thursday morning, the committee had not yet announced if / when it would add a sixth hearing to the schedule as originally planned following a postponement last week. Times are subject to change.
Witness J. Michael Luttig, a former judge whose legal advice Pence heeded when determining he could not unilaterally stop the count, will testify on Thursday.
According to his prepared remarks, Luttig will tell lawmakers that the legal scheme presented by Eastman to former President Donald Trump was utter bunk and that the alternate elector gambit was doomed from the first moment.
“From their inception, the legal arguments that underlaid the efforts to overturn the 2020 election were, in that contextlittle more than beguiling and frivolous, perhaps appropriate for academic classroom debate, but singularly inappropriate as counsel to the President of the United States of America in his effort to overturn the presidential election – an election he had lost fair and square and as to which there was not then, and there is not to this day, evidence of fraud , ”Luttig will say.
J. Michael Luttig Opening Statement June 16 2022 by Daily Kos on Scribd
“The law is not a plaything for presidents or judges to use to remake the world in their preferred image. ”
This is the position of Greg Jacob, former Vice President Mike Pence’s counsel, who explained how from December 2020 to January 2021, he and Pence “analyzed various theories of unilateral vice presidential power that were presented to us and we explained the reasons those theories were inconsistent with the Constitution and the law. ”
Gregory Jacob Prepared Remarks by Daily Kos on Scribd
Jacob said the vice president’s legal team was fully prepared to push back against any challenge to the constitutionality of the Electoral Count Act, reviewing “records for every electoral vote count in our nation’s history, the history of the disputed Election of 1876 and the Electoral Commission. that was created to resolve it, the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and its legislative history and every law article written on the subject of the Electoral Count Act’s constitutionality. ”
Jacob argued that no one could ever accuse Pence of not knowing what the laws were and what his authorities did or did not entail.
The committee’s position on developing legislation or amending existing legislation like the Electoral Count Act, so there cannot be a “recurrence of January 6,” again is shared with Jacob.
“New statutes will make little difference if we do not first inculcate in our citizens and demand in our leaders unfailing fidelity to our Constitution and the rule of law. That means you always follow them, even when it hurts, You stand up for them, even where there is a cost, ”he wrote.
Suggesting the committee consult the “prescient” words of Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 68, Jacob quoted the Founding Father:
“The Constitution does not make the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, ‘which he warned might be subject to’ cabal, intrigue, and corruption. ‘” Jacob said. “For precisely this reason, the Constitution prohibits Senators and Representatives from serving as electors. Hamilton also warned that any body meeting in one location to choose the President would be exposed to ‘heats and ferments’ that could’ convulse the community with extraordinary or violent movements. “
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Updates from the opening statements from chairman Bennie Thompson and vicechair Liz Cheney.
They are setting the stage today, making it clear how Trump pushed to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power by pressuring Pence to go along with a scheme that he knew, according to testimony from VP Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, was not legal.
Short told members of the committee during recorded video deposition that Trump was told Eastman’s strategy was not legal.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, said today that the public will hear more about how Pence withstood pressure publicly and privately that ultimately “built to a fever pitch on Jan. 6.”
“We will also hear that Trump knew there was a violent mob at the Capitol when he tweeted that Pence did not have the courage to do what needed to be done,” Aguilar says.
Witnesses are now being introduced by the committee.
Luttig expressed a deep dismay at the scheme that Eastman undertook with Trump to overturn the election, and minced no words as he delivered a methodical testimony Thursday: A declaration of Trump as President of the United States on Jan. 6 would have been tantamount to a revolution.