Jan. 6 probe: 3rd hearing to focus on Trump’s pressure for Pence to nullify election

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Jan. 6 probe: 3rd hearing to focus on Trump's pressure for Pence to nullify election

Then-Vice President Mike Pence (C) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preside over the Electoral College vote certification for Joe Biden during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The process was interrupted when a radical pro-Trump mob broke into the building. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will convene for its third public hearing Thursday, focusing on former President Donald Trump’s efforts to get Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Thursday’s public hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was delayed by a day due to what the committee said were “technical difficulties.”

Aides say the committee will present evidence Thursday showing Trump sought to aggressively pressure Pence to reverse his defeat to Joe Biden in the election, according to CNN and NBC News.

“We’re going to show that that pressure campaign directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol and it put the vice president’s life in danger,” one aide said Wednesday according to NBC News.

Thursday’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EDT.

Committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., is expected to lead the presentation that will include new materials detailing Pence’s actions and responsibilities on Jan. 6.

The committee has previously said Pence endured relentless pressure from Trump to invalidate Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, when Congress met to certify the election results. The vice president presides over the electoral certification, but has no constitutional authority to unilaterally invalidate the results of an election, as Trump had asked him to do.

Thursday’s hearing will also include live testimony from Pence’s former counsel Greg Jacob and retired federal Judge Michael Luttig, plus recorded testimony from Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, and questions from committee counsel.

The previous two hearings, on Monday and June 9, focused on other aspects of the Jan. 6 attack.

In video testimony shown at Monday’s session, members of Trump’s inner circle, including former Attorney General William Barr, said Trump refused to accept the 2020 election results and continually claimed that he lost due to widespread fraud — a claim that no investigation or federal court has found to be true.

In the deposition, Barr said Trump continually became more and more “detached from reality” as efforts to overturn the vote dragged on and “went off on a monologue” claiming that Dominion election machines were involved in election fraud, a false claim that was spread in far-right circles by right-wing news media. Dominion later sued the networks for defamation.

Byung J. Pak, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta who investigated claims of voter fraud, has testified that his office found that a report of a “suitcase full of ballots” — which was part of the supposed conspiracy against Trump — was, in fact, an official lockbox.

Ben Ginsberg, a Republican legal strategist who provided an explanation for the normal practice for contesting an election, previously told the committee that Trump’s legal challenges after the election were made without evidence. The panel also heard testimony from Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and adviser, that she accepted Barr’s conclusion that there was no voter fraud.

Another possible topic on Thursday has to do with video of Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., leading a tour of the Capitol on the day before the Jan. 6 attack, which the committee announced on Wednesday.

The committee is expected to hold several more hearings before September.

House committee holds second public hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack

Jan. 6 probe: 3rd hearing to focus on Trump's pressure for Pence to nullify election

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., speaks to reporters after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol held its second public hearing to discuss its findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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