Pence says Trump team asked him to reject votes ‘outright’

Former President Donald Trump speaks as the keynote speaker at the 56th Annual Silver Elephant Dinner hosted by the South Carolina Republican Party on August 5, 2023 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Melissa Sue Gerrits | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump’s attorney John Lauro said Sunday that he believes former Vice President Mike Pence will be one of the defense’s “best witnesses” in the federal case over Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Trump was indicted on four federal felony charges Tuesday that centered on his supposed attempts to discount legitimate votes in the 2020 presidential race and subvert the election itself. The indictment describes how Trump and his lawyers pressured Pence to overturn Joe Biden’s victory by refusing to certify the results in the Senate on Jan. 6, 2021. Pence refused and had to be evacuated from the Senate chamber when members of the Jan. 6 mob called for him to be hung.

The former president is facing additional federal charges in connection with a probe centered on his retention of classified documents after leaving office in 2021. He was also charged by Manhattan prosecutors with falsifying business records related to hush money payments to women who say they had extramarital affairs with him.

Pence has not been officially called to testify in the election case, but Lauro told ABC’s “This Week” he believes Pence’s testimony would help illustrate that the former president was not acting with criminal intent.

“I cannot wait until I have the opportunity to cross-examine Mr. Pence, because what he will do is completely eliminate any doubt that Mr. Trump, President Trump, firmly believed that the election irregularities had led to inappropriate results,” Lauro said Sunday.

Pence told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that if he is ultimately asked to testify, he will follow the law.

Lauro added that Trump and his lawyers asked Pence to “pause the voting” to allow states time to audit votes, in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. Pence, who also spoke with CNN Sunday, said that was not the full story.

“Frankly, the day before January 6, if memory serves, they came back — his lawyers did — and said, ‘We want you to reject votes’ outright,” Pence said. “They were asking me to overturn the election. I had no right to overturn the election.”

“I don’t know what was in [Trump’s] heart, I don’t know what his intentions were, but I do know what he and his lawyers asked me to do. And it’s what no vice president in American history had ever done before, and frankly what no vice president or any one person in Washington should ever do again,” he added.

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