In a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” former Vice President Mike Pence shed light on his version of the events leading up to the January 6th certification in Congress. Pence revealed that former President Donald Trump and his lawyers had asked him to “reject” the 2020 presidential vote.
When asked about the specifics by anchor Dana Bash, Pence emphasized that the president’s tweets and public statements left him convinced that he had the authority to reject or return electoral votes, despite historical precedence to the contrary.
“Look, what the president was convinced it seemed to me in December that I had some right to reject or return electoral votes, even though no vice president in American history had ever asserted that right. No vice president or any one president has ever had the right to choose the American president. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone,” he added.
In the days preceding the January 6th event, the former president’s discussions focused on rejecting votes, according to Pence, who said Trump’s lawyers later suggested returning votes to the states. However, on the eve of January 6th, the legal team reportedly instructed Pence to outright reject votes, effectively asking him to overturn the election.
Pence asserted that he had no such authority and, ultimately, upheld his duty on that day.
The CNN interview comes the same day the GOP presidential candidate gave an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” acknowledging that he took notes on his conversations with Trump during that period.
These notes, previously unreported, became a crucial point of reference in the four-count indictment brought against Trump as his former vice president might have to testify against him.
“From time to time, particularly at important moments, I had a practice of scribbling a note or two on my calendar, just to memorialize it and remember it,” Pence explained. While he claimed that was not standard practice for him, he said he felt it necessary to document what had been said given the momentous events unfolding.
The former vice president’s notes from a Jan. 4, 2021 meeting detailed various election fraud claims made by Trump as he allegedly pressured Pence to send back or reject electoral votes during the January 6th certification.
Meanwhile, Trump’s defense attorney John Lauro has refuted the claims, saying the former President never asked Pence to overturn the election.
Donald Trump's defense attorney says the former president never asked Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election. https://t.co/QLM3xjzeNG
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 6, 2023
“The ultimate ask of Vice President Pence was to pause the counts and allow the states to weigh in,” he explained, adding that Trump’s aim was to have the certification delayed till the suspected irregularities in the election could be investigated.