The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is taking a closer look at the role former Vice President Mike Pence may have played in the events of that day, and some on the committee believe Pence was a big part of what took place.
Greg Sargent of the Washington Post notes that the Select Committee doesn’t see Pence as a “hero” for his actions on Jan. 6, as has been suggested by some:
The true contours of this emerge from a New York Times excavation of the role of John Eastman, the lawyer who wrote the Trump coup memo. It outlined how Pence supposedly could exercise unilateral power (that he did not have) over the process to refuse to count President-elect Joe Biden’s electors, throwing the election to Trump.
Buried in that piece is an important revelation: Pence apparently went further than previously known in probing whether he could execute a version of Eastman’s scheme.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) is especially interested in finding out what Pence knew and when he knew it, remarking:
Pence, it now appears, wanted to be convinced that he could indeed delay counting and certification of the electoral votes. He didn’t reject the idea outright, as some have suggested. And in doing so, that makes him a co-conspirator in Trump’s scheme to remain in power despite the results of the 2020 election, when voters overwhelmingly rejected him and his administration:
Pence ultimately declared that he did not have this unilateral power. But the point is that, if Eastman is correct, Pence and Jacob sought to be convinced otherwise. It’s possible Pence simply went through these motions to placate Trump. But the Jan. 6 committee will have to find out the full truth.
And the very suggestion that Pence was indeed willing to play a role in subverting the Constitution may also lead to long-overdue election reform, most notably the the entire idea of an Electoral College deciding who wins presidential elections instead of letting popular vote decide the winner the way it does in every other election, Sargent concludes:
That would require reform of the Electoral Count Act. And so, it’s likely the committee will recommend that and other reforms to cut off the path to such schemes in the future. But whatever reforms it does recommend, nailing down how close we came to the worst can only build public support for them.