- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 16, 2022

John Eastman, the conservative lawyer behind President Trump’s calls for Vice President Pence to reject the 2020 presidential electoral vote count, acknowledged that doing so could spark violence.

In a recorded deposition revealed Thursday, former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told the committee he told Mr. Eastman that his plan to overturn the election would “cause riots in the streets.”

“I said, ‘You’re completely crazy.’ I said, ‘You’re going to turn around and tell 78-plus million people in this country that your theory … is how you’re going to invalidate their votes because you think the election was stolen.’ And I said, ‘They’re not going to tolerate that,’” Mr. Herschmann said in the deposition.

He said Mr. Eastman told him in response that violence would be tolerable in the interest of “democracy.”

“And he said words to the effect of, ‘There’s been violence in the history of our country in order to protect the democracy, or to protect the republic,’” Mr. Herschmann said.

The committee said Mr. Eastman was the architect behind the legal and constitutional argument that Mr. Pence, as president of the Senate, could delay or overturn the election results during the certification on Jan. 6, 2021.

SEE ALSO: Sean Hannity texts to Mark Meadows show fear that Jan. 6 will go badly

In a letter to Congress on the day of the certification, Mr. Pence denied that he had the powers as vice president to reject state electoral vote counts, despite pressure from Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump persisted in pressuring Mr. Pence to “stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country” at the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse just before thousands of Mr. Trump’s supporters made their way to the Capitol to protest the certification.

Some of Mr. Trump’s supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” as they converged on the Capitol, where the vice president was overseeing the certification.

The committee on Thursday held its third hearing in a series of public proceedings scheduled for this month.

Thursday’s hearing is focused on Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on the vice president in the lead-up to election certification on Jan. 6, 2021, which the committee says directly contributed to the attack on the Capitol.

The panel began its series of public hearings with a prime-time broadcast last Thursday to set up its case that Mr. Trump was ultimately responsible for the attack on the Capitol.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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