Mike Pence: John Eastman 'didn’t even believe what he was telling' Donald Trump about election fraud
Former Vice President Mike Pence published an excerpt from his upcoming book as a column in the Wall Street Journal, making it clear that John Eastman's quack theories about trying to overturn the election on Jan. 6 were known to be false even to him.
He recalled a conversation with Donald Trump in the days before the Capitol attack. They were discussing the lawsuit brought by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
"I don’t want to see ‘Pence Opposes Gohmert Suit’ as a headline this morning,” Trump raged, according to Pence.
The former VP recalled he told Trump he was against it.
“If it gives you the power,” he asked, “why would you oppose it?”
Pence claimed he didn't believe the power existed under the Constitution.
“You’re too honest,” he chided. “Hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts. . . . People are gonna think you’re stupid.”
Other reports cite Trump calling Pence a "p*ssy" and a slew of other things. At the same time, Pence wasn't innocently standing up for democracy on principle. He was searching for a way to make it happen too, even going so far as to call Dan Quayle to ask for advice on what his role would be on Jan. 6.
"On Jan. 4, the president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, summoned me to the Oval Office for a meeting with a long list of attendees, including the legal scholar John Eastman," Pence recalled. "I listened respectfully as Mr. Eastman argued that I should modify the proceedings, which require that electoral votes be opened and counted in alphabetical order, by saving the five disputed states until the end. Mr. Eastman claimed I had the authority to return the votes to the states until each legislature certified which of the competing slate of electors for the state was correct. I had already confirmed that there were no competing electors."
Pence recalled Eastman trying to explain his legal theory, but it was the only one he had.
“Do you think I have the authority to reject or return votes?” he recalled asking Eastman.
“Well, it’s never been tested in the courts, so I think it is an open question," Eastman replied.
Pence then told Trump " Even your lawyer doesn’t think I have the authority to return electoral votes.”
He recalled Trump saying, “I like the other thing better,” presumably meaning that he could simply reject electoral votes.
Pence said he then made it clear to Trump that even Eastman didn't support his own ideas.
Those debates happened again the next day, and that's where some of the testimony from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. Legal fights broke out in the Oval Office. Trump yelled at everyone and nothing was decided.
Pence went on to give a TikTok that walked through what happened on the sixth, though it essentially matched all of the books that have come before him.
On Jan. 11, he remembered talking to Trump, confessing, “I was angry. You and I had our differences that day, Mr. President, and seeing those people tearing up the Capitol infuriated me.”
He went on to tell Trump to his face that what happened on Jan. 6 was horrific and wrong. That hasn't been the message that Republicans delivered in the past two years.
Pence said that he told Trump he was "praying for you."
“Don’t bother,” Trump said.
- Coup mastermind John Eastman has his day in the spotlight ›
- John Eastman ties to Clarence Thomas scrutinized after Ginni Thomas election text revelations: report ›
- 'Just insane': George Conway calls for John Eastman to be 'disbarred and prosecuted' for role in insurrection ›
- Jan. 6 committee pushes back against Mike Pence’s claim Congress has 'no right' to his testimony - Alternet.org ›