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We Now Know Trump Team's Bonkers Plan for Pence to Overthrow the Election on January 6th

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

A newly-reported memo to then-Vice President Mike Pence—from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, written by Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis—has shed new light on the pressure Pence faced from Trump to keep the former President in power despite the results of the 2020 election.

Citing fantasies that the 2020 election was somehow "stolen" from him by Democrats engaging in widespread election fraud, Trump publicly pressured Pence to unilaterally throw out the electoral votes of six swing states during the joint session of Congress certifying Biden's victory—a joint session the Vice President oversees.

The Vice President's role in these proceedings is purely administrative. Any disputed electoral votes must be objected to by both a House member and a Senator, after which each chamber votes separately to count or reject the state's electoral votes. The Vice President does not have the power to singlehandedly reject any of these votes.

Pence reached that same conclusion and, in a public letter, announced the morning of January 6 that he wouldn't comply with Trump's demands.

The newly-reported memo, which ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl discloses in his book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, laid out the steps for what would've happened if Pence made the unconstitutional decision to unilaterally reject electoral votes.

The disputed swing states were to be given a deadline of January 15—five days before the presidential inauguration—to send new votes. Any state that failed to comply wouldn't be counted, thereby denying Biden the 270 electoral votes required to be the victor and sending the election to the House. Though Democrats held control of the House, the votes would've been on a state-by-state basis, which would've favored Republicans and solidified Trump as the next President.

As history will remember, after Pence rejected Trump's demands, a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection. They chanted "Hang Mike Pence," chants which Trump would later defend.

The new memo reinvigorated calls for Trump and his allies to be held accountable for attempting to overthrow the election.





It also reinforced the severity of the events leading up to January 6, and the Trump team's role in them.


Both Meadows and Ellis have refused to comply with subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.