In a shocking twist to the investigation surrounding the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, former Vice President Mike Pence’s contemporaneous notes have come to light, shedding new light on his interactions with then-President Donald Trump. Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 45-page indictment against Trump has presented Pence’s notes as crucial evidence against the former president, resulting in Pence being cast in a negative light.
The indictment alleges that as the January 6 congressional certification proceeding approached, Trump sought to pressure Pence to fraudulently alter the election results. The document cites multiple phone calls between the two in late December 2020 and early January 2021, during which Trump allegedly made knowingly false claims about election fraud and attempted to convince Pence to reject legitimate electoral votes.
One of the phone calls took place on December 25, 2020, when Trump turned the conversation to January 6 and urged Pence to reject electoral votes on that day. However, Pence pushed back, stating that he lacked the authority to change the election outcome.
Four days later, Trump allegedly claimed that the Justice Department had uncovered major election infractions, a claim that Pence’s notes show to be false, according to the indictment.
The situation escalated further during a New Year’s Day meeting, where Trump and Pence discussed a lawsuit that sought to grant the vice president exclusive authority to decide which electoral votes should count. Despite Pence’s assertion that he lacked such power under the Constitution, Trump disparagingly responded, “You’re too honest… People are gonna think you’re stupid.”
The indictment further alleges that on January 3, a new plan was circulated to send elector slates to state legislatures for determination, contrary to the Electoral Count Act (ECA). During a subsequent meeting with Trump, Pence, and others, Trump deliberately excluded the White House Counsel, who had previously questioned his false claims of election fraud.
In this meeting, as documented in Pence’s contemporaneous notes, Trump allegedly continued to make knowingly false claims about election fraud, stating that he had won every state by hundreds of thousands of votes. He even raised the unfounded claim of 205,000 votes more in Pennsylvania than voters.
As tensions grew, Trump publicly criticized Pence during a rally on January 6, where his supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” and “Traitor Pence!” before marching on the Capitol.
In response to the indictment, Pence released a statement accusing Trump of prioritizing himself over the Constitution. The former vice president, who is now a 2024 GOP hopeful, noted that Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence but raised concerns about the former president’s candidacy, stating it would be a distraction from President Biden’s record.
The revelation of Pence’s contemporaneous notes has added new dimensions to the Capitol riot investigation and has intensified public scrutiny on the former vice president. As the legal process unfolds, the nation awaits further developments and examines the implications for Trump’s potential candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.
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