Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Washington — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is holding the third in its series of hearings on Thursday, with lawmakers turning their focus to former President Donald Trump’s campaign to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes. 

Two Pence aides are set to testify at Thursday’s hearing, scheduled to start at 1 p.m.: Greg Jacob, Pence’s former counsel, and J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who advised Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Two people familiar with Luttig’s expected testimony told CBS News that he planned to tell the committee that “America’s democracy was almost stolen from her.” The committee will also show taped footage of an interview with Marc Short, who was Pence’s chief of staff.

Committee aides said the hearing would be divided into four sections. First, the committee will explore the emergence of the theory by conservative lawyer John Eastman and others that the vice president could unilaterally reject electors when Congress met on Jan. 6, 2021. Next, aides said the committee will focus on the rejection of that theory by Pence’s lawyers, a “group of committed public servants who upheld their oath” and gave Pence “sound advice” that he didn’t have the authority to overturn the results of the election.

The committee will then explore the pressure campaign on Pence, with Trump both participating and trying to rally his supporters to get them to pressure the vice president themselves. The committee will argue this directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol, and put Pence’s life in danger.

Lastly, aides said the committee will argue there is an ongoing threat to democracy because there are prominent figures who still claim the election was rigged, including Trump himself.

Eastman has emerged as a key figure in the committee’s investigation into the run-up to Jan. 6, with congressional investigators gaining access to a trove of emails he sent and received in the weeks leading up to the attack. 

The committee has obtained exchanges between Eastman and Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, two sources told CBS News on Wednesday. Ginni Thomas’ role in the aftermath of the election came under scrutiny in March after CBS News and The Washington Post reported on text messages she sent to former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, urging him to overthrow the election results.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, told reporters before the hearing that the panel expects to ask Ginni Thomas to speak with them “soon.”

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