Donald Trump falsely claimed that an episode of 60 Minutes and a recent federal law clarifying the electoral process backed up his unprecedented theory that former vice-president Mike Pence had the power to stop or overturn the counting of the 2020 election results.
Refering to the December 2022 Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, which was mentioned on a recent 60 Minutes broadcast, Mr Trump argued on Truth Social, “The fact that they had to CLARIFY THE LAW means that there was UNCERTAINTY, which means that it was open to INTERPRETATION. It could have been done!”
Legal scholars dispute this interpretation.
No vice-president has ever taken or claimed authority to ultimately decide a presidential election, and the 2022 law affirmed this reading, explicitly calling the vice-president’s constitutionally described role in the counting of Electoral College votes as “solely ministerial.”
The CBS News interview show may have been on the former president’s radar in recent days because it just aired an interview with John Eastman, a former law professor who helped architect Mr Trump’s strategy to challenge the 2020 election results, including lobbying Mike Pence to delay the electoral count.
Mr Eastman, who also allegedly urged officials to send unauthorised slates of Electoral College electors, is facing nine criminal counts in Georgia’s 2020 election conspiracy case against Donald Trump and his associates. He has pleaded not guilty.
On a Sunday episode of 60 Minutes, Mr Eastman insisted he was innocent of wrongdoing.
“We did nothing wrong,” he said. “And it’s important to counteract the false narratives on that because all of my actions were designed to investigate illegality in the election to see if they had an impact.”
Elsewhere on the broadcast, Greg Jacob, who served as legal counsel to the vice-president, said he sat in on a January 2021 Oval Office meeting where Mr Eastman tried to push his wildly controversial reading of the electoral process.
“No vice president had ever exercised this authority. No vice president had ever claimed to have the power to exercise this authority,” Mr Jacob said.
“So it really was him inventing something without any historical roots or any historical foundations and then desperately trying to find some hook in the constitutional text that neither history, nor structure, nor practice, nor common sense supported,” he added.”