Before the third hearing on Thursday, it was already established that Donald Trump knew he lost the election. The next question is did he know in a provable way that it was illegal to try to overturn the election?
Yes. Yes, he did. Trump knew it was illegal two days before he tried to overthrow a lawful election.
The then Vice President’s general counsel Greg Jacob testified that Eastman admitted in front of then President Trump on January 4th that the scheme to overthrow the election was illegal.
“Did John Eastman ever admit in front of the President that his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act?”
“I believe he did on the fourth.”
The full transcript of this moment:
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney: “What exactly did president trump know when exactly did president trump know that it would be illegal for Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes? Here is one sample of testimony given by one of the witnesses before us today. The vice president’s general counsel.”
Question in deposition asked of Greg Jacob: “Did John Eastman, did he ever admit as far as you know in front of the President his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act?”
Greg Jacob: “I believe he did on the fourth.”
Cheney:” It was January 4th, two days before the attack on congress. A second point, please listen to testimony today about all of the ways President Trump attempted to pressure Vice President Pence including Donald Trump’s tweet at 2:24 P.M. condemning Vice President Mike Pence when President Trump already knew a violent riot was underway at the Capitol.
In future hearings, you will hear from witnesses who were present inside of the White House, present in the West Wing on that day. Today, we focus on the earnest efforts of Mike Pence who is determined to abide by his oath of office.”
Donald Trump knew for sure, with no excuses, two days before the attack that what he was trying to do was illegal.
This is the killshot for any attempted defense on Trump’s part that he was so “out of it” (as many around him are saying) that he didn’t know. I would also suggest that if he is so out of it that he doesn’t have a relationship with reality and the law, he clearly shouldn’t be running the Republican Party and running for office again.
“Trump knew he lost the 2020 election, so he oversaw a scheme to overturn the will of the American people. When the Vice President refused to go along with it, he unleashed a violent mob against Pence at The Capitol,” the January 6th committee shared before the hearing started.
Donald Trump attempted to pressure former VP Pence into going along with an unlawful scheme to overturn the 2020 election. The Select Committee is spending Thursday’s hearing detailing that pressure, but this part – the part where Trump knew what he was doing was illegal- is vital going forward.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.