LIVE: Witnesses paint picture of building pressure on Pence to reject election on Jan. 6

Warning: The above video is live and may be graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised. The 1/6 committee on Thursday plunged into Donald Trump’s last-ditch effort to salvage the 2020 election by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to defy historical precedent and reject the electoral count in the run-up to the U.S. Capitol riot.With two witnesses Thursday, including Pence’s counsel, the House panel intended to show that Trump’s false claims of a fraudulent election left him grasping for alternatives as courts turned back dozens of lawsuits challenging the vote.Here’s the latest from Thursday’s hearing. All times ET: 2:35 p.m. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and a former Pence adviser, told the House committee that he “would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the vice president overturn the 2020 election.”Luttig said the theory that Pence had the authority to overturn the 2020 election results hinged on the claims of attorney John Eastman, which Luttig called “constitutional mischief.”Greg Jacob, Pence’s former chief counsel, testified that Pence never believed the claims that he had the authority to reject the election results. “The vice president’s first instinct was that there was no way that any one person, particularly the vice president who is on the ticket and has a vested outcome in the election, could possibly have the authority to decide it by rejecting electors or to decisively alter the outcome by suspending the joint session for the first time in history in order to try to get a different outcome from state legislatures,” Jacob said. 2:25 p.m. In Herschmann’s deposition shown by the House committee Thursday, he described his conversation with attorney Eastman about his circulating theory that Pence had the power to single-handedly block the certification of the election for Joe Biden.”I said, ‘You’re completely crazy.’ I said, ‘You’re going to turn around and tell 78 million people in this country that your theory is this is how you’re going to invalidate their votes. Because you think the election was stolen,” Herschmann said. “They’re not going to tolerate that. You’re going to cause riots in the streets.”In response, Herschmann said Eastman said “words to the effect of, ‘There’s been violence in the history of our country in order to protect the democracy, or to protect the republic,’” Herschmann said. 2:10 p.m. Herschmann, in his deposition, said former President Donald Trump’s then-attorney Rudy Giuliani leaned toward admitting the morning of Jan. 6 that Pence didn’t have the authority to determine the outcome of the 2020 election or send the decision back to states. “He was asking me my view and analysis and the practical implications of it. And when we finished, he said, ‘Look, I believe, that you know, you’re probably right,’” Herschmann said. However, Giuliani didn’t take that stance during a Trump rally later that day.“Every single thing that has been outlined as the plan for today is perfectly legal,” Giuliani said during his speech on Trump’s rally on Jan. 6. “It is perfectly appropriate … that the vice president can … decide on the validity of these crooked ballots, or he can send it back to the legislators, give them five to 10 days to finally finish the work.” 1:45 p.m. Jacob told the committee that Pence consulted him about the 12th amendment and the Electoral Count Act after he “had been seeing and reading things that suggested that he had a significant role to play on Jan. 6 in announcing the outcome of the election.””The vice president’s first instinct when he heard this theory was that there was no way that our framers, who abhorred concentrated power and who had broken away from the tyranny of George III, would ever have put one person — particularly not a person who had a direct interest in the outcome because they were on the ticket for the election — in a role to have decisive impact on the outcome of the election,” Jacob said. “And our review of text, history, and frankly, just common sense, all confirmed the vice president’s first instinct on that point. There is no justifiable basis to conclude that the vice president has that kind of authority,” Jacob said.1:25 p.m. Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson opened the hearing citing Pence’s own words that there is “almost no idea more un-American” than the one he was being asked to do — reject the vote.”“Trump wanted Mike Pence to do something no other vice president has ever done,” Thompson said. “Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe.” Luttig, in his remarks, referred to Jan. 6 as a “war on America’s democracy” in his written statement to the committee.In the statement published Thursday by CNN, he said that if Pence had adhered to Trump’s demands to overturn the election, “America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.” Original story below:Thursday’s session is expected to divulge new evidence about the danger Pence faced as the mob stormed the Capitol shouting “hang Mike Pence!” with a makeshift gallows on the Capitol grounds as the vice president fled with senators into hiding. Nine people died in the insurrection and its aftermath. The panel is reconvening for a third hearing this month after a blockbuster prime-time start last week, followed by logistical setbacks in recent days. Monday’s key witness, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, abruptly declined to appear in person because his wife was in labor with their child. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing with witnesses from the Justice Department who tried to convince Trump that his claims of voter fraud were just not true was postponed. Nevertheless, the panel’s yearlong investigation is portraying a publicly gripping account of Trump’s final weeks in office as the defeated president clung to “the big lie” of a rigged election even as those around him — his family, his top aides, officials at the highest levels of government — were telling him he simply lost the election.Former Attorney General William Barr, who resigned at the end of 2020 rather than be part of Trump’s plans, testified earlier that the president was becoming “detached from reality” if he believed the lies. He said he told the president his claims of voter fraud were “bull (expletive).”With 1,000 interviews and reams of 140,000 documents, the committee is connecting the dots, showing how Trump’s false claims of election fraud became a battle cry as he summoned thousands of Americans to Washington for a Jan. 6 rally and then sent them to Capitol Hill to “fight like hell” for his presidency. More than 800 people have been arrested in the Capitol siege, and the panel is considering whether to send a referral for criminal charges against Trump to the Justice Department. No president or former president has ever been indicted by the Justice Department, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has said he and his team are following the proceedings in Congress.For now, the panel is pressing ahead with its hearings, with more scheduled for next week. Thursday’s will unpack the Eastman plan to have the states send alternative slates of electors from the five or seven states Trump was disputing, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With competing slates for Trump or Biden, Pence would be forced to reject them, returning them to the states to sort it out, under the plan.Pence refused the plan, believing the founding fathers would not have left it to one person, the vice president, to decide the outcome, Jacob told the panel in previous testimony. Jacob said the idea was utterly against some 130 years of precedent in American history, “entirely made up.” The committee in hearings ahead will be delving into the roles of extremist groups and others who heeded Trump’s call to Washington. Leaders and others from the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys face rare sedition charges over their roles in the Capitol attack.Several members of Congress are also under scrutiny, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., whom the committee has asked for an interview to discuss a Capitol tour he gave that included basement tunnels to a group of people the day before the attack. The panel is also probing several candidates for elected office, including the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, who were among the rioters.The panel, which is expected to deliver a final report on its findings later this year, intends for its work to be a record for history of the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Unlike other national traumas that have pulled the country together, the Jan. 6 Capitol attack appears to have left many Americans divided. Congress splintered over forming the committee, which most Republicans opposed. The panel’s two Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, have been shunned by the GOP for their work with Democrats leading the investigation into Trump and his role in the Capitol attack.___Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Washington and Farnoush Amiri in Los Angeles contributed to this report. CNN also contributed to this report.

Warning: The above video is live and may be graphic in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.

The 1/6 committee on Thursday plunged into Donald Trump’s last-ditch effort to salvage the 2020 election by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to defy historical precedent and reject the electoral count in the run-up to the U.S. Capitol riot.

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With two witnesses Thursday, including Pence’s counsel, the House panel intended to show that Trump’s false claims of a fraudulent election left him grasping for alternatives as courts turned back dozens of lawsuits challenging the vote.

Here’s the latest from Thursday’s hearing. All times ET:

2:35 p.m.

Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and a former Pence adviser, told the House committee that he “would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the vice president overturn the 2020 election.”

Luttig said the theory that Pence had the authority to overturn the 2020 election results hinged on the claims of attorney John Eastman, which Luttig called “constitutional mischief.”

Greg Jacob, Pence’s former chief counsel, testified that Pence never believed the claims that he had the authority to reject the election results.

“The vice president’s first instinct was that there was no way that any one person, particularly the vice president who is on the ticket and has a vested outcome in the election, could possibly have the authority to decide it by rejecting electors or to decisively alter the outcome by suspending the joint session for the first time in history in order to try to get a different outcome from state legislatures,” Jacob said.

2:25 p.m.

In Herschmann’s deposition shown by the House committee Thursday, he described his conversation with attorney Eastman about his circulating theory that Pence had the power to single-handedly block the certification of the election for Joe Biden.

“I said, ‘You’re completely crazy.’ I said, ‘You’re going to turn around and tell 78 million people in this country that your theory is this is how you’re going to invalidate their votes. Because you think the election was stolen,” Herschmann said. “They’re not going to tolerate that. You’re going to cause riots in the streets.”

In response, Herschmann said Eastman said “words to the effect of, ‘There’s been violence in the history of our country in order to protect the democracy, or to protect the republic,’” Herschmann said.

2:10 p.m.

Herschmann, in his deposition, said former President Donald Trump’s then-attorney Rudy Giuliani leaned toward admitting the morning of Jan. 6 that Pence didn’t have the authority to determine the outcome of the 2020 election or send the decision back to states.

“He was asking me my view and analysis and the practical implications of it. And when we finished, he said, ‘Look, I believe, that you know, you’re probably right,’” Herschmann said.

However, Giuliani didn’t take that stance during a Trump rally later that day.

“Every single thing that has been outlined as the plan for today is perfectly legal,” Giuliani said during his speech on Trump’s rally on Jan. 6. “It is perfectly appropriate … that the vice president can … decide on the validity of these crooked ballots, or he can send it back to the legislators, give them five to 10 days to finally finish the work.”

1:45 p.m.

Jacob told the committee that Pence consulted him about the 12th amendment and the Electoral Count Act after he “had been seeing and reading things that suggested that he had a significant role to play on Jan. 6 in announcing the outcome of the election.”

“The vice president’s first instinct when he heard this theory was that there was no way that our framers, who abhorred concentrated power and who had broken away from the tyranny of George III, would ever have put one person — particularly not a person who had a direct interest in the outcome because they were on the ticket for the election — in a role to have decisive impact on the outcome of the election,” Jacob said.

“And our review of text, history, and frankly, just common sense, all confirmed the vice president’s first instinct on that point. There is no justifiable basis to conclude that the vice president has that kind of authority,” Jacob said.

1:25 p.m.

Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson opened the hearing citing Pence’s own words that there is “almost no idea more un-American” than the one he was being asked to do — reject the vote.”

“Trump wanted Mike Pence to do something no other vice president has ever done,” Thompson said. “Our democracy came dangerously close to catastrophe.”

Luttig, in his remarks, referred to Jan. 6 as a “war on America’s democracy” in his written statement to the committee.

In the statement published Thursday by CNN, he said that if Pence had adhered to Trump’s demands to overturn the election, “America would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.”


Original story below:

Thursday’s session is expected to divulge new evidence about the danger Pence faced as the mob stormed the Capitol shouting “hang Mike Pence!” with a makeshift gallows on the Capitol grounds as the vice president fled with senators into hiding. Nine people died in the insurrection and its aftermath.

The panel is reconvening for a third hearing this month after a blockbuster prime-time start last week, followed by logistical setbacks in recent days. Monday’s key witness, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, abruptly declined to appear in person because his wife was in labor with their child. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing with witnesses from the Justice Department who tried to convince Trump that his claims of voter fraud were just not true was postponed.

Nevertheless, the panel’s yearlong investigation is portraying a publicly gripping account of Trump’s final weeks in office as the defeated president clung to “the big lie” of a rigged election even as those around him — his family, his top aides, officials at the highest levels of government — were telling him he simply lost the election.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who resigned at the end of 2020 rather than be part of Trump’s plans, testified earlier that the president was becoming “detached from reality” if he believed the lies. He said he told the president his claims of voter fraud were “bull (expletive).”

With 1,000 interviews and reams of 140,000 documents, the committee is connecting the dots, showing how Trump’s false claims of election fraud became a battle cry as he summoned thousands of Americans to Washington for a Jan. 6 rally and then sent them to Capitol Hill to “fight like hell” for his presidency.

More than 800 people have been arrested in the Capitol siege, and the panel is considering whether to send a referral for criminal charges against Trump to the Justice Department. No president or former president has ever been indicted by the Justice Department, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has said he and his team are following the proceedings in Congress.

For now, the panel is pressing ahead with its hearings, with more scheduled for next week.

Thursday’s will unpack the Eastman plan to have the states send alternative slates of electors from the five or seven states Trump was disputing, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With competing slates for Trump or Biden, Pence would be forced to reject them, returning them to the states to sort it out, under the plan.

Pence refused the plan, believing the founding fathers would not have left it to one person, the vice president, to decide the outcome, Jacob told the panel in previous testimony. Jacob said the idea was utterly against some 130 years of precedent in American history, “entirely made up.”

The committee in hearings ahead will be delving into the roles of extremist groups and others who heeded Trump’s call to Washington. Leaders and others from the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys face rare sedition charges over their roles in the Capitol attack.

Several members of Congress are also under scrutiny, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., whom the committee has asked for an interview to discuss a Capitol tour he gave that included basement tunnels to a group of people the day before the attack.

The panel is also probing several candidates for elected office, including the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, who were among the rioters.

The panel, which is expected to deliver a final report on its findings later this year, intends for its work to be a record for history of the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Unlike other national traumas that have pulled the country together, the Jan. 6 Capitol attack appears to have left many Americans divided. Congress splintered over forming the committee, which most Republicans opposed.

The panel’s two Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, have been shunned by the GOP for their work with Democrats leading the investigation into Trump and his role in the Capitol attack.

___

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Washington and Farnoush Amiri in Los Angeles contributed to this report. CNN also contributed to this report.

Contributed by local news sources

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