What is known about Mike Pence’s “contemporary remarks” regarding Trump in the Jan. 6 affair?
The “contemporary memos” that former Vice President Mike Pence says he recorded related to January 6, 2021, amid a pressure campaign urging him to rescind the 2020 election, are now being raised in the case of Special Counsel Jack Smith v. Former President Donald Trump.
Pence, who is running against Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has emerged as a potential key witness in the trial after Trump was indicted last week in Washington on four federal counts over his efforts to reverse his loss in the presidential election and stay in power.
Trump pleaded not guilty during his trial on Thursday, later claiming to reporters that “this is persecution of a political opponent” by the federal government, which prosecutors deny.
(Trump faces two other charges, in New York state and in federal court in Florida, to both of which he has pleaded not guilty. He denies any wrongdoing.)
The former vice president, who was ordered to testify in April before a federal grand jury investigating January 6, has said in several media appearances that he has no plans to testify as a witness at Trump’s future election interference trial, but that he will abide by the law. .
It is a prospect Trump’s lawyers insisted they welcome, arguing that Pence would not help prosecutors prove that “Trump had corrupt or criminal intent.”
“Mike Pence will be one of the best witnesses we have at the trial,” John Lauro said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the case, saying last week: “Mr. Smith and his team of experienced and principled agents and prosecutors have followed the facts and the law wherever they lead.”
Here’s what is known — from Trump’s election meddling indictment, recent interviews with Pence and from Pence’s memoirs — about the notes the former vice president said he took around Jan. 6.
Where are the notes mentioned?
The notes Pence said he took at that time are directly mentioned twice in the indictment Trump filed on January 6.
The first reference to “contemporary Pence observations” is on page 33 of the indictment, referring to a meeting on December 29, 2020: Trump falsely told Pence at the time that the Justice Department was “discovering significant irregularities” in the 2020 election. According to the notes Pence, the indictment states that.
The second direct reference to the notes in the indictment is a reference to a meeting on January 4, 2021, when Pence rejected the legality of a proposal to return electoral votes to the states. The indictment states that the meeting involved an unnamed alleged co-conspirator with Trump, “Conspirator 2,” who ABC News has likely identified as attorney John Eastman.
The indictment states: “During the meeting, as indicated in the Vice President’s concurrent memos, Defendant willfully made false allegations of election fraud, including, “Bottom line — we won every state by 100,000 votes” and “We won every state.” And he asked — regarding a claim that senior Justice Department officials have previously told him was false, including the night before — “What about 205,000 more votes in the Palestinian Authority than voters?”
While the memoirs are directly mentioned twice, other alleged interactions between Trump and Pence are mentioned in the indictment, with strikingly similar details to those in Pence’s memoirs, “God help me.”
What’s in Pence’s diary?
Many of the conversations between Trump and Pence, which are detailed in Trump’s January 6 indictment, are also detailed in Pence’s memoirs, “God Help Me,” released in November.
For example, in one parallel, the indictment reads: “On December 25, when the Vice President called the defendant to wish him a Merry Christmas, the defendant quickly shifted the conversation to January 6 and asked the Vice President to decline the electoral votes that day The Vice President responded by telling the respondent, as the Vice President had already done in previous conversations, “You know I don’t think I have the power to change the outcome.”
Pence wrote in his book that he had called the president to wish him a happy birthday — a tradition for the past four years — and that it was “not surprising that the conversation quickly turned to electoral challenges.”
And Pence wrote what Trump said: “You play a big role.” “But it was clear from our conversation that he was saying something different.”
Another high-profile phone call that Pence wrote about involves when Trump called him “very honest” for opposing efforts to have him hold off on certifying the 2020 election on Jan. 6, in his ceremonial role as Senate president.
The indictment read: “On January 1 The defendant called the Vice President and chastised him because he learned that the Vice President opposed a lawsuit seeking a judicial decision, in which the Vice President, upon ratification, had the power to reject votes or return them to the states under the Constitution. The vice president replied that he believed there was no constitutional basis for this power and that it was improper. In response, the defendant told the vice president, “You’re very honest.”
Pence wrote in his book that Trump said, “You’re being brutalized. If it gives you power, why oppose it?”
“I told him, as I have told him many times before, that I did not believe I had the power under the Constitution to decide which votes to accept or reject. He kept coming,” Pence wrote. “You are too honest,” he rebuked him, predicting that hundreds of thousands would hate your bravery and people would think you were stupid.
Pence also recalled a January 3, 2021 conversation — which is also described in the indictment — in which he wrote that Trump told him, “You can be a historical figure. But if you beat, you’re just somebody.”
The indictment continues to recount how on January 6, 2021, members of the crowd at the Capitol chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” and “traitor penny!” After Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the guts to do what should have been done…”
Pence has widely placed much of the blame for Trump’s bid to overturn the election results on some of his lawyers.
He declined to comment on Trump’s intent and did not mention a conversation in which Trump said he had lost the election, though the indictment accuses Trump of knowingly making false claims that he had won and, at some point in early January 2021, admitting he would have. He was succeeded as president by the “next man”.
Was Pence in the habit of taking notes?
Pence was inspired to take notes at the time because he wanted to make sure any legitimate election appeals were heard, he told ABC News in an interview with reporters last week.
“Honestly, I’ve been trying to keep an open mind about objections that will be raised on the ground,” he said. “I was very willing to make sure that we heard all the arguments and concerns that the members of Congress made. But because of the riots [at the Capitol on Jan. 6]Because the president and his imbecile lawyer insisted that I could annul the election, the violence that followed overshadowed it all.
He explained in detail the process of taking notes On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on SundaySaying that he was not always in the habit of keeping such records but decided to do so because of their importance.
“I have some limitations on what I can talk about to the grand jury, but there was, from time to time, especially at important moments, that I would practice jotting a note or two in my calendar just to commemorate and remember it. I did,” Pence said. That is in this case.” “I generally did not practice taking notes in meetings over a four-year time period [while in office]. But given the momentous events that were unfolding, I took some notes to remind myself of what was said.”
“Look, I’m a student of American history,” he added. “I knew that the founders of this country would not have given anyone the right to choose which Electoral College votes to accept and which to reject. I was very consistent with the President on that, and all my recollections reflect that.”
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com