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Pence Aide Warned Against Blocking Electoral College Count, Memo Shows


Former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief counsel specified by a memo the day before Jan. 6, 2021, that the vice chairman would violate federal law if he bowed to pressure from President Donald J. Trump to interfere with the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

The three-page memo, obtained by Politico and confirmed as authentic by The Recent York Times, included arguments from the chief counsel, Greg Jacob, that Mr. Pence could find himself in a legally precarious situation if he decided to dam the certification of the Electoral College results either unilaterally or by calling for a 10-day delay within the proceedings.

A lawyer advising Mr. Trump, John Eastman, had insisted that Mr. Pence had the facility to take each of those actions, emphasizing the 10-day delay as Jan. 6 grew closer. Mr. Eastman pressed his claims in a gathering with Mr. Pence and Mr. Jacob within the Oval Office on Jan. 4.

But Mr. Pence, who within the weeks after the election told Mr. Trump that he didn’t consider he had such power but would proceed researching the matter, was given concrete guidance by his own aides.

Mr. Jacob wrote within the memo that Mr. Pence would almost certainly be overruled by the courts if he made such a move.

“In a best-case scenario through which the courts refused to become involved, the vice chairman would likely find himself in an isolated standoff against each houses of Congress, in addition to most or all the applicable state legislatures, with no neutral arbiter available to interrupt the impasse,” Mr. Jacob wrote within the memo.

A spokesman for Mr. Pence declined to comment.

Following its prime-time hearing this past week, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot is scheduled to carry three more hearings in the approaching week, including one on Thursday at which Mr. Jacob is about to be a key witness.

That session is slated to give attention to the pressure campaign on Mr. Pence to insert himself into the certification of the Electoral College vote, a proceeding that will likely be routine.

Mr. Jacob has told the committee that he wrote the memo after the meeting with Mr. Eastman, Politico reported.

Mr. Eastman’s conduct has been a focus of the House investigation into the events that took place leading as much as the riot. In March, in a civil case stemming from Mr. Eastman’s efforts to maintain the committee from accessing a tranche of emails related to his advice to Mr. Trump, a federal judge said that he and Mr. Trump “more likely than not” committed crimes as they sought to overturn the outcomes of the election.

The memo from Mr. Jacob was one in a series that he wrote related to the pressure on Mr. Pence following the 2020 election. One got here initially of December, after Mr. Pence asked Mr. Jacob to explore what his authority was in relation to the Jan. 6 certification.

One other memo, also obtained by Politico, was written on Jan. 1. It evaluated the varied allegations of widespread fraud that Mr. Trump’s advisers had pointed to, including in Georgia, where Mr. Trump repeatedly made claims that officials said were baseless.

The memo detailed claims from six key states — those for which Mr. Pence’s advisers anticipated that House lawmakers would attempt to challenge the certification, potentially with support from senators from those states.

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