Takeaways from the third day of US Capitol riot hearings on Jan. 6

Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen on a screen during a hearing of the Special Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S., Thursday June 16, 2022. The committee investigating the 2021 U.S. Capitol Uprising is focused on Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to use his role as Senate leader to seek congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election To block. Tom Brenner/Pool via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) – The third day of US Congressional hearings on January 6, 2021, the attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, saw further, often intense, testimony from close allies of the former presidents .

Here are three takeaways from Day 3 of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee hearings on Jan. 6:

Eastman apologized

Thursday’s testimony focused on Trump attorney John Eastman’s role as the architect of the plan to pause Congress’ Jan. 6 confirmation of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election and put Trump in office for a second term.

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Several witnesses said Eastman and other Trump associates had been told such a plan was illegal.

“Thanks to your bullshit, we’re now under siege,” Greg Jacob, an attorney for Vice President Mike Pence, told Eastman on Jan. 6. Eastman responded that the attack on the Capitol was because Pence refused to ignore the election results and take action to make Trump president for a second term.

After the riot, Eastman argued in writing that the Electoral Count Act, which governs the ratification of presidential elections, was “not quite so sacrosanct”. As a result, Eastman pushed for “another minor violation,” prompting Pence to delay Congressional certification so several state lawmakers could argue their case for a Trump victory before the American people.

Eastman eventually asked Trump for a presidential pardon for his activities, which he did not receive.

DISASSEMBLY OF PARTY FEES?

Since the special committee was created after congressional Republicans blocked the formation of an independent, outside commission last year, Trump and his supporters have portrayed the work of the House committee as nothing more than a partisan endeavor by Democrats.

But for the first three days of the hearing, testimony came from Republican witnesses ranging from Trump’s daughter Ivanka and former Trump Attorney General William Barr to Trump’s legal and campaign aides. They’ve painted a picture of what they called a “way out of joint” president ignoring repeated hints that the November 2020 election was legally won by Biden.

Trump has instead maintained his false claims that his defeat was the result of fraud, a claim several former members of the Trump administration told the committee they knew was false.

J. Michael Luttig, a retired judge and informal advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence, and Greg Jacob, a Pence attorney, testified Thursday. John Wood, a panel investigator and on the administration of former Republican President George W. Bush, conducted much of the questioning.

“If it seems biased, that’s only because all previous witnesses against Donald Trump have been Republicans,” Democratic committee member Jamie Raskin quipped to reporters Tuesday.

THE LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION

Throughout Thursday’s hearing, witnesses stressed that they could find no basis for concluding that Pence alone could have decided on Jan. 6 that Trump won 2020, despite Biden winning both the popular vote and the electoral college vote with clear Distance and won without evidence of voter fraud.

“There was absolutely no basis in the United States Constitution or laws for Mr. Eastman’s theory. None,” Luttig testified.

Committee members and witnesses noted that in 2000, if the vice president had such power, then-Vice President Al Gore could have declared himself the winner of that year’s contested George W. Bush election.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short testified that Trump pressured Pence “many times” and “directly” to overturn the 2020 earnings.

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reporting by Richard Cowan and Patricia Zengerle; Edited by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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