Jan. 6 committee shifting focus to Trump’s role in the plan to replace electors

Jan. 6 committee shifting focus to Trump’s role in the plan to replace electors

The Jan. 6 select committee will use its third week of public hearings to dive into the construction of slates of pro-Trump electors seeking to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election — and Donald Trump’s role in the plan.

Panel member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that the committee will “weave it all together,” transitioning from its hearing focused on the pressures facing then-Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the election results to “how a similar pressure campaign directed against state and local elections officials put their lives in danger.”

The committee has already unveiled that lawyers working for the former president were part of the efforts. Schiff says the panel will next make the case that Trump himself was involved in the scheme — potentially adding another dimension to the Trump’s push to stay in power.

“We’ll show evidence of the president’s involvement in this scheme. We’ll also, again, show evidence about what his own lawyers came to think about this scheme,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And we’ll show courageous state officials who stood up and said they wouldn’t go along with this plan to either call legislatures back into session or decertify the results for Joe Biden. The system held because a lot of state and local elections officials upheld their oath to the Constitution. A lot of them are Republicans as well as Democrats.”

Ultimately, no electors were replaced, and Democratic candidate Biden was certified the winner with 306 electoral votes.

Last week, the committee revealed evidence that painted a picture of the pressure campaign facing Pence to block Biden’s electoral votes, giving Republican-controlled state legislatures ample time to adopt a slate of pro-Trump electors. The committee wrapped up the hearing with the presentation of an email showing attorney John Eastman asking Rudy Giuliani to get him on Trump’s pardon list. While he never got the pardon, the committee leaned into the exchange as a key part of evidence it said suggests the former president and Eastman committed a criminal conspiracy to keep Trump in office.

Eastman’s pardon request followed a monthlong attempt to get Pence on board with the efforts, which a federal judge has deemed “a coup in search of a legal theory.”

Schiff refused to say Sunday whether the committee will reveal evidence that Trump directed the plan.

“I don’t want to get ahead of our hearing. We’ll show during the hearing what the president’s role was in trying to get states to name alternate slates of electors, how that scheme depended, initially, on hopes that the legislatures would reconvene and bless it. They don’t and they pressed forward with it anyway,” Schiff said.

While the committee moves forward with the public side of its work, it’s continuing to seek information from sources like Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The committee has obtained communications between Virginia Thomas, known as Ginni, and Eastman, and called her to testify last week.

“We want to know what she knows, what her involvement was in this plot to overturn the election. She has said she is willing to come in and testify voluntarily. We’re glad to hear that,” Schiff said.

And while the committee has so far resisted subpoenaing Pence, Schiff said Sunday that no witnesses are “off the table.”

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Author: By Myah Ward