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Jan. 6 committee member says Trump ‘said the criminal part out loud’ when he said Pence could have overturned the election

Then-President Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence.

David T. Foster III-Pool/Getty Images

  • Trump on Sunday repeated the untrue claim that Pence could have overturned the 2020 election.
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin said on Tuesday that Trump had “said the criminal part out loud.”
  • Raskin is part of the House committee probing whether Trump is criminally complicit in the Capitol riot.

Former President Donald Trump “said the criminal part out loud” when he said former Vice President Mike Pence could have overturned the 2020 election, a January 6 committee member said.

Trump made the claim on Sunday, falsely saying that newly-proposed amendments to the 1887 Electoral Count Act showed Pence could have overturned President Joe Biden’s victory.

“What they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!” Trump said in a statement.

Members of the House’s January 6 committee are investigating Trump’s role in the Capitol riot, and have narrowed in on his attempt to overturn the election. 

In January 2021, Trump tried to use the Electoral Count Act to get Pence not to certify Biden’s victory, but Pence declined, saying he didn’t have the “unilateral authority” under the Constitution.

The certification process at the US Capitol, over which Pence presided on January 6, 2021, was disrupted by a crowd of Trump supporters, many of whom believed Pence could overturn the election and wanted to punish him.

When asked by CBS News whether Trump’s comment makes it easier to show that Trump actively sought to overturn Biden’s legitimate election victory, committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said it “makes it simple in the sense that Donald Trump said the criminal part out loud.”

“That makes it very clear what he was up to,” he said.

In recent days, the January 6 committee reportedly interviewed Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, and now hopes to get Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter, to testify.

“I personally am expecting everybody who was asked to come and testify to come and do it. And most people are doing it without a subpoena,” Raskin told CBS News.

Raskin told CBS News that Trump was refusing to give testimony to the commission, as well as discouraging his allies from doing so.

“Trump has been trying to sandbag and obstruct us by getting his greatest intimates in his entourage — like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows — not to testify,” Raskin said.

Lawmakers are proposing reforms to the 1887 law to avoid confusion over the vice president’s electoral powers.

“We saw, on 6 January 2021, how ambiguities, simple law, were exploited. We need to prevent that from happening again.,” GOP Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday.

“I’m hopeful that we can come up with a bipartisan bill that will make very clear that the vice-president’s role is simply ministerial, that he has no ability to halt the count.”

Trump claimed in January 2021 that Pence would be able to deny Biden’s victory by rejecting certain electors if there was evidence of fraud, which Trump claimed there was. However, this is untrue. “He’s a presider, not a decider,” Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, told NBC News at the time.

Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the two Republicans on the January 6 committee, tweeted Monday: “Trump uses language he knows caused the January 6 violence; suggests he’d pardon the January 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy; threatens prosecutors; and admits he was attempting to overturn the election.”

“He’d do it all again if given the chance.”

Trump had told supporters at a rally in Texas over the weekend that he would pardon convicted Capitol rioters if he wins the 2024 election.

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