Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
President Trump’s efforts to unlawfully overturn the results of the 2020 election were not limited to the Big Lie and pressuring State officials and the Department of Justice officials. Another key part of the President’s effort was a scheme to assemble fake electors to cast false electoral votes in the States that President Trump lost.
This was something done not only with the President’s knowledge but also with his direct participation. Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, testified before this Committee that President Trump and his attorney Dr. John Eastman called her and asked her to arrange for the fake electors to meet and rehearse the process of casting their fake votes.
Ms. MCDANIEL. When I received the call—again, I don’t remember the exact date—it was from the White House switchboard, and it was President Trump who had contacted me.
Mr. WOOD. And did President Trump have anyone else on the line with him?
Ms. MCDANIEL. He introduced me to a gentleman named John Eastman. So I vaguely remember him mentioning that he was a professor, and then essentially he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the States.
These fake electors were ultimately part of the President’s plan to replace genuine Biden electors with Trump electors on January 6th. As part of this plan, the false electoral slates were sent to the National Archives and to the Capitol.
The “fake electors” plan was also tied to another plan: the coercive pressure campaign to make Vice President Mike Pence reject or refuse to count certain Biden electoral votes so that President Donald Trump would “win” reelection instead. Here is what Vice President Pence has said about this scheme.
Vice President PENCE. President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election, but President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The Presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.
And, frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.
Make no mistake: President Trump knew that what he was demanding Vice President Pence do was illegal. He was informed of this repeatedly and specifically on January 4th.
Even his lawyer John Eastman admitted in front of President Trump that this plan would break the law by violating the Electoral Count Act.
Mr. WOOD. Did John Eastman ever admit, as far as you know, in front of the President that his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act?
Mr. JACOB. I believe he did on the 4th.
Dr. Eastman confirmed this in writing. Recall this email, written on January 6th, in which Vice President Pence’s counsel asked Dr. Eastman, “Did you advise the President that in your professional judgment the Vice President does not have the power to decide things unilaterally?” Dr. Eastman replied, “He’s been so advised.”
Of course, President Trump’s own White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, also recognized that this plan was unlawful. Here is Mr. Cipollone’s testimony.
Mr. CIPOLLONE. My view is that the Vice President didn’t have the legal authority to do anything except what he did.
There is no doubt that President Trump’s pressure campaign on Vice President Pence was significant.
On the morning of January 6th, President Trump called the Vice President from the Oval Office and demanded that he overturn the results of the election. Numerous witnesses told the Select Committee about the invective that President Trump leveled at his own Vice President.
Something to the effect—this is—the wording’s wrong—”I made the wrong decision 4 or 5 years ago. ”
Mr. TONOLLI. And the word that she relayed to you that the President called the Vice President—I apologize for being impolite, but do you remember what she said her father called him?
Ms. RADFORD. The P word.
But Vice President Pence didn’t waver, even when his own life was endangered by President Trump and the rioters at the Capitol on January 6th, as you’ll see in more detail later.
A Federal judge concluded, based on this and other evidence, that President Trump’s pressure campaign against the Vice President likely violated multiple criminal statutes.
In the end, all these people—Department of Justice officials, State elections officials, his own Vice President—stood strong in the face of President Trump’s immense pressure.
But, as we now know, President Trump had already summoned tens of thousands of his supporters to Washington on January 6th to “take back” their country.
On December 19th, President Trump first told his supporters to come to Washington. In this and numerous other tweets, he fraudulently and repeatedly promoted January 6th as the day Americans could come and change the election outcome.
For weeks, President Trump worked with others to plan the rally, intending all along that he would send an assembled crowd of angry supporters to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse on January 6th.
We obtained a text message that one rally organizer sent on January 4th. In part, it reads that “POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol” and “POTUS is going to just call for it ‘unexpectedly.’ ”
Again, each of these examples—the Big Lie, the pressure campaigns against State officials, the pressure campaign against the Department of Justice and his Vice President, the fake electors, summoning the mob—all of this demonstrates President Trump’s personal and substantial role in the plot to overturn the election. He was intimately involved. He was the central player.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventeenth Congress, Second Session. (Oct. 13, 2022). Meeting of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. U.S. Government Printing Office. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-117hhrg50118/pdf/CHRG-117hhrg50118.pdf.