Witnesses say Pence faced pressure from Trump to illegally overthrow US

The House Select Committee committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol’s third public hearing featured testimony on the role former President Donald Trump and others had in attempting to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to illegally overturn the results of the Electoral College.

Pence faced relentless pressure from Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, but stood firm against doing so, witnesses told the committee.

Greg Jacob, who was counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence and Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, told members at the hearing that Trump, as well as his allies and supporters “are a clear and present danger to American democracy.”

“That’s not because of what happened on January 6 — it’s because to this very day, the former president, his allies and supporters pledge that in the presidential election of 2024, if the former president or his anointed successor as the Republican Party presidential candidate were to lose that election, that they would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election,” Luttig said.

Rep. Pete Aguilar says that testimony shows that rioters were just 40 feet away from Vice President Mike Pence during the invasion of the Capitol building.

One of the most stunning moments of Thursday’s hearing came as members presented a 3D model of areas of the Senate basement where Pence was evacuated to after leaving the Senate floor with Secret Service.

According to security footage of the day, rioters came dangerously close to the vice president while members of the crowd inside and outside of the Capitol chanted, “hang Mike Pence”.

According to Aguilar, a confidential witness has testified to the FBI that members of the Proud Boys, who were present in the riot, “would have killed Mike Pence if given the chance.”

The bipartisan committee has been investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol for nearly a year.

Vice-Chair Liz Cheney, the Republican daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, made a statement that suggested evidence might be used to show the former president violated 18 US §1512, which makes it illegal to corruptly obstruct an official congressional proceeding.

Jacob testified under oath that on Jan. 4, John Eastman admitted in front of Trump that he knew it would be illegal for Pence to try and stop the certification of the election.

Ryan Goodman, former special counsel to the Department of Defense, described it as “key evidence” in a tweet.

“It’s not required to establish criminal liability under 18 USC § 1512,” Goodman added. “President Trump could have thought Pence had legal authority, and could be liable being aware he’d lost the election (@BarbMcQuade analysis) or by using rioters to obstruct (@KPNatsFan analysis).”

The chairman of the panel, Rep. Bennie Thompson, closed the hearing by making a call for more witnesses to come and testify to the committee.

“We are able to present this information because so many witnesses have cooperated with our probe. But the fact is there are more people with direct knowledge, with evidence germane to our investigation,” Thompson said.

Thompson urged “those who might be on the fence” about cooperating to reach out via the website, where there is a tip line.

“And I thank those who sent us evidence for their bravery and patriotism,” Thompson said.

A majority of Democrats and Republicans believe the United States will “likely” not be a democracy someday, according to a Yahoo News-YouGov poll released Wednesday, June 15, that revealed among the 1,541 US adults surveyed, 55% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans believe the country will “cease to be a democracy in the future.”

About 49% of Independents also shared this belief, the poll says. A quarter of those surveyed feel the end of U.S. democracy is “unlikely,” while another quarter was unsure.

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