Pence aide: Election in peril of being ‘decided in the streets’

John Eastman speaks at a news conference in Boulder, Colo, on April 29, 2021.
Conservative lawyer John Eastman, shown in Boulder, Colo., on April 29, 2021, pressed Vice President Mike Pence to reject some states’ electoral college votes or delay Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, Pence’s chief counsel testified on Thursday.
(Andy Cross / Denver Post)

In the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, conservative lawyer John Eastman repeatedly pressed then-Vice President Mike Pence to either reject certain states’ electoral college votes or delay Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election, leaving seemingly no options for a logical resolution, according to testimony from a House select committee hearing Thursday.

“If the courts did not step in to resolve this, there was nobody else to resolve this,” said Greg Jacob, who was Pence’s chief counsel. “… That issue might well then have to be decided in the streets.”

Jacob said during his testimony that on Jan. 5, 2021, Eastman and Jacob had a meeting during which Eastman requested that Pence “reject the electors” outright.

Jacob said he attempted to reason with Eastman, pointing out that there was no historical or constitutional basis for Pence to opt not to certify the election results. Jacob also stated that the courts will likely not “get involved in the political question.”

“And I concluded by saying, ‘John, in light of everything that we’ve discussed here, can’t we just both agree that this is a terrible idea?” Jacob said. “[Eastman] couldn’t quite bring himself to say yes to that.”

Thursday marked the third day of hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection led by a nine-member select committee. Committee members presented evidence showing the pressure placed on Pence to overturn the election results, and the consequences for the country if Pence hadn’t adhered to the vice president’s largely ceremonial role in counting the votes.

There are two more hearings planned for Monday and Thursday.