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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)
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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.

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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.