Former Pence counsel testifies former Trump lawyer requested that Pence reject electors before Jan. 6

During the third public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, testified that President Trump’s lawyer John Eastman admitted in front of Trump on Jan. 4 that his proposal for Pence to reject electors violated the Electoral Count Act.

Video transcript

- Did Dr. Eastman admit in front of the president that his proposal would violate the Electoral Count Act?

GREG JACOB: So during that meeting on the 4th, I think I raised the problem that both of Mr. Eastman's proposals would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. Mr. Eastman acknowledged that that was the case, that even what he viewed as the more politically palatable option would violate several provisions, but he thought that we could do so because, in his view, the Electoral Count Act was unconstitutional. And when I raised concerns that that position would likely lose in court, his view was that the court simply wouldn't get involved, they would invoke the political question doctrine. And therefore, we could have some comfort proceeding with that path.

- Mr. Wood?

JOHN WOOD: But just to reiterate, he told you-- maybe this was in a later conversation-- but he told you at some point that if in fact, the issue ever got to the Supreme Court his theory would lose 9-0, correct?

GREG JACOB: The next morning, starting around 11:00 or 11:30, we met for an hour and a half, to two hours. And in that meeting, I've already described the text, structure, history conversation but we started walking through all of that. And I said, John, basically what you have is some text that may be a little bit ambiguous but then nothing else that would support it, including the fact that nobody would ever want that to be the rule. Wouldn't we lose 9 to nothing in the Supreme Court? And again he initially started well, maybe you'd only lose 7 to 2 but ultimately acknowledged, that no, we would lose 9-0. No judge would support his argument.

JOHN WOOD: Just to be clear, you're saying that Dr. Eastman urged the vice president to adopt the very same approach that Dr. Eastman appeared to abandon in the Oval Office meeting with the president the day before, is that correct?

GREG JACOB: He had recommended against it the evening before, and then on the 5th came in and I think it was probably his first words after introductions and as we sat down, were I'm here to request that you reject the electors in the disputed states.

JOHN WOOD: And you referenced a moment ago some handwritten notes which you've provided to the select committee. I'd now like to show you those notes. As you can see, you wrote there at the top, the writing is a little bit faint in the copy, but you wrote, "requesting VP reject." Does that accurately reflect what Dr. Eastman asked of you in your meeting on January 5th?


JOHN WOOD: And what was your reaction when Dr. Eastman said on January 5th that he was there to ask the vice president of the United States to reject electors at the joint session of Congress?

GREG JACOB: I was surprised because I had viewed it as sort of one of the key concessions that we had secured the night before from Mr. Eastman that he was not recommending that we do that.