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Jan. 6 hearing Pro-Trump lawyer sought pardon after pushing plan to overturn election

On June 16, the House committee investigating Capitol attack described a steadfast Vice President Mike Pence despite pressure from President Donald Trump. (Video: Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer advising President Donald Trump, sought a presidential pardon after pushing a plan to overturn the 2020 election that he knew to be illegal, evidence and testimony showed during a hearing Thursday by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Eastman had aggressively pushed a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to use his authority to help overturn the results, but acknowledged to Pence attorney Greg Jacob that the plot violated the law and would lose at the Supreme Court “nine to nothing,” Jacob testified.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House committee, said earlier Thursday that the panel plans to invite Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed. People involved in the investigation say newly obtained email correspondence between her and Eastman have revealed that her efforts to overturn the 2020 election were more extensive than previously known. Thomas said in a media interview that she looks forward to talking to the committee.

What you need to know

  • Another witness, J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, said Pence heeding Trump’s directive would have “plunged America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis.”
  • Thompson opened the hearing by praising Pence’s “courage” in resisting Trump’s demands.
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chairwoman, also praised Pence, saying: “Vice President Pence understood that his oath of office was more important than his loyalty to Donald Trump. He did his duty. President Trump unequivocally did not.”
  • Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, did not appear in person, but the committee aired excerpts of closed-door testimony he has provided.
  • After 11 months and more than 1,000 interviews, the House committee has started sharing what it knows. Here’s what to watch for in these hearings.

The Jan. 6 insurrection

Congressional hearings: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held a series of high-profile hearings to share its findings with the U.S. public. What was likely to be the panel’s final public hearing has been postponed because of Hurricane Ian. Here’s a guide to the biggest hearing moments so far.

Will there be charges? The committee could make criminal referrals of former president Donald Trump over his role in the attack, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview.

What we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6: New details emerged when Hutchinson testified before the committee and shared what she saw and heard on Jan. 6.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6.