Incendiary tweets, a short-tempered speech, an angry crowd… The commission of inquiry into the attack on the Capitol detailed Thursday during a hearing the numerous pressures Donald Trump put on Vice President Mike Pence to prevent him from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory on March 6 January 2021.
“The President was repeatedly told that the Vice President could not change the outcome of the election. But despite it all, he publicly pressured Mike Pence to do just that,” Democrat-elect Pete Aguilar said during a very lengthy presentation.
After nearly a year of investigation, the group of elected officials is trying to show that Donald Trump’s rejection of the November 2020 presidential results was not just bad loser coquetry, but the essential part of a thoughtful strategy to stay in power.
This quickly focused on Vice President Mike Pence’s solemn certification of the election results before Congress on January 6, 2021, essentially a simple formality.
The commission of inquiry revealed how an attorney, John Eastman, had devised a concrete plan for Donald Trump to exploit loopholes in the election counting law and block Joe Biden’s entry into the White House.
President-elect Pete Aguilar said the president “clinched a dangerous theory that he didn’t want to give up because he believed it would allow him to stay in office.”
Under pressure, Mike Pence then turned to several legal experts, who had assured him that he had no legal room for maneuver and that it was imperative that Joe Biden certify victory.
“I believe that if Vice President Pence had obeyed the orders of his President (…) it would have plunged America into revolution in the midst of a constitutional crisis,” Justice Michael Luttig, in a very solemn voice, warned of the commission.
On January 6, 2021, an hour before the start of the certification session, Donald Trump nonetheless tried to apply this pressure one last time by addressing a crowd of Trumpists assembled in Washington in the freezing cold.
“Mike Pence, I hope you will fight for the good of our country and our Constitution. Otherwise I’ll be extremely disappointed,” says the Republican billionaire in a serious tone.
A few minutes later, Mike Pence publishes a letter in which he protests that he will not heed the pressure from the President.
At the same time, pro-Trump protesters are beginning to crowd around Congress, images that have been circulated around the world. The certification session is abruptly interrupted.
As the vice president and congressmen-elect are evacuated from the chaos of the Capitol, Donald Trump fumes on Twitter that Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what was necessary to protect the country.”