Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday rejected the notion by former President Donald Trump’s then-attorney John Eastman that he could have “paused” the certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021, referring to him as a “crackpot” lawyer.
Pence made the comments during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Story,” telling host Martha MacCallum that he did his duty as vice president according to the Constitution by not bowing to calls for him to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
“I was confident as a student of American history that those founders would have never vested the vice president or anyone else with unilateral authority to decide what Electoral College votes to count and which not to count. I was clear on that throughout. I was clear with President Trump throughout all the way up to the morning of January 6th,” Pence said.
“But let’s let’s be clear on this point. It wasn’t just that he asked for a pause. The president specifically asked me — and his gaggle of crackpot lawyers asked me — to literally reject votes, which would have resulted in the issue being turned over to the House of Representatives. And literally chaos would have ensued,” he added.
According to an email included in the indictment brought against Trump on Tuesday by Special Counsel Jack Smith, Eastman, who has been identified as a co-conspirator in the indictment, implored Pence to consider adjourning the joint session of Congress for 10 days to allow state legislatures to finish conducting audits and investigations into alleged “illegal activity” related to voting.
MacCallum asked for Pence’s reaction to Eastman saying all he had to do was “take a pause.”
“I say that’s completely false. And it’s contrary to American history, to our Constitution and to the laws of this country. And I never considered it, Martha,” Pence responded. “Look, for the first time, I heard speculation that, as vice president, I’d have the authority to overturn the election by returning or rejecting votes, I frankly dismissed it out of hand.”
On the indictment itself, Pence said he’d “hoped” it wouldn’t reach that point, and was unsure if the DOJ could meet “the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt for criminal charges.”
“But the American people deserve to know that President Trump and his advisors didn’t just ask me to pause. They asked me to reject votes, return votes, essentially to overturn the election, and to keep faith with the oath that I made to the American people and to Almighty God, I rejected that out of hand, and I did my duty that day,” he added.