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Jan. 6 panel turns attention to Pence at Thursday's hearing

Thousands of Trump supporters — many chanting "Hang Mike Pence" — marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Pence met with lawmakers for what is normally a routine ceremony to certify the election.

U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol holds its opening public hearing in Washington
A video of former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaking is shown on a screen during the hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 9, 2022.
POOL/REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — The congressional committee investigating last year's deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol turns its attention on Thursday to then-President Donald Trump's multiple attempts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

The House of Representatives Select Committee has scheduled a hearing for noon Central, looking at efforts by Trump and some of his associates to convince Pence not to formally certify Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the November 2020 presidential election.

More coverage of the insurrection
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The committee showed videos of top-ranking national security and White House officials saying one by one that Trump did not speak to leaders of the Defense Department, National Guard, FBI, Homeland Security or the Secret Service. Trump also didn’t communicate with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser or Capitol Police.
Panel to hold hearing in prime time -- 7 p.m. Thursday
In video testimony shown during the hearing, witnesses described a loud late-night six-hour meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, where Trump disregarded White House staffers who urged him to concede the November 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.
The hearing could be one of the most consequential held by the panel, potentially answering the long unresolved question of whether Trump knew that far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers would storm the Capitol, and whether the president was in contact through intermediaries with the groups’ leaders, who have since been indicted for seditious conspiracy.
More than 840 people been charged with taking part in the Capitol riot, attacking police and sending lawmakers scrambling for safety.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, described Trump supporters being armed with AR-15-style rifles and other weapons in testimony on Tuesday to the House of Representatives select committee.
The hearing will be held at noon Central time, the committee said in a statement on Monday. A spokesperson for the House Jan. 6 select committee had no comment on the focus of Tuesday's hearing or witnesses who will testify.
The committee also put at the center of Thursday's hearing the activities of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official and fervent Trump ally.
The committee showed a video detailing how Trump’s plan depended on legislatures in multiple states adopting alternate electors. The then-president leaned heavily on state and local officials to take action while his team of lawyers relied on conspiracy theories to back the push.

Thousands of Trump supporters — many chanting "Hang Mike Pence" — marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Pence met with lawmakers for what is normally a routine ceremony to certify the election. Some erected a gallows they said was intended for Pence.

The certification had become a focus for Trump, who saw it as a last-ditch chance to retain the presidency despite being defeated. His supporters flocked to Washington to rally with Trump, who had made repeated false claims that the election was stolen through widespread voting fraud.

Thursday's hearing will feature testimony from Greg Jacob, who served as counsel to Pence, and retired U.S. Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig, who was an informal adviser to the vice president.

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Videotaped testimony of former Pence chief of staff Marc Short is expected to be broadcast.

The hearing is the third of at least six public hearings this month at which the nine-member, Democratic-led committee will discuss preliminary results of its nearly year-long investigation of the events up to and on Jan. 6, 2021.

Committee aides said the hearing would discuss emergence of a plan advocated by Trump associates including attorney John Eastman that the vice president could unilaterally reject certified electors from disputed states. Pence refused to accept that theory.

"It's a violation of the vice president's constitutional obligations and constitutional law," but Trump chose the path of "escalating" this violation, an aide said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, aides also said the session would look at the pressure campaign on Pence, driven by Trump. They promised new material documenting those efforts, with testimony from the witnesses in the room as well as taped testimony from some of the more than 1,000 depositions and interviews.

The committee intends to lay out a timeline of Pence's day on Jan. 6, which could detail contacts with Trump and Secret Service agents who spirited the vice president to a secure location as the crowd threatened him.

The attack on the Capitol delayed certification of the election for hours, injured more than 140 police officers and led to several deaths. More than 840 people have been arrested and charged so far.

The onslaught marked the only time in U.S. history that power was not passed peacefully from one president to another.

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(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan; editing by Andy Sullivan and David Gregorio.)

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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