By Editor-Tuesday, August 2nd, 2023.
It was always a standing joke that President Trump would never accept an election defeat and would probably have to be smoked out of the White House on the day of the inauguration of his successor. Now he has been indicted for conspiring to disrupt the change of power at the end of his term with criminal conspiracies against the United States of America.
The 45-page indictment accusing former president Donald Trump of criminal schemes in his effort to overturn the 2020 election results references Mike Pence or the office of the vice presidency more than 100 times, reflecting Pence’s role as a central figure in the charging document.
Pence took “contemporaneous notes” about Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 45th president’s electoral defeat in the lead-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, according to the indictment, which includes some new specific allegations about a defining chapter of Pence’s career and a key point of contention in his long-shot 2024 presidential campaign against his former boss. Pence rejected Trump’s pressure to try to reverse the election results in his role certifying the outcome, leading to a fracture that has persisted to this day.
The notes are explicitly cited twice in the document. The first reference highlights that Trump, on Dec. 29, 2020, allegedly told Pence that the Justice Department was “finding major infractions,” according to the notes. The second details a Jan. 4, 2021, meeting, where Trump allegedly repeated his false claims of widespread election fraud. During that meeting, according to the document, Pence questioned Trump lawyer John Eastman’s proposal to send the election results back to the states, asking if it was “defensible.”
Pence served Trump loyally for four years, and the former president’s pressure to overturn the 2020 election results marked their only public break during the Trump-Pence administration. The indictment offers a timeline of private phone calls that allegedly occurred between Trump and Pence in the lead-up to Jan. 6, in which Trump pressured Pence to interfere with the election results.
The third co-conspirator appears to be attorney and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell.
Co-Conspirator 4 appears to be Jeffrey Clark, a Department of Justice official in the Trump administration.
Co-conspirator 5 appears to be the lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, The fifth co-conspirator is described in the indictment as helping in “devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.” That matches up with how as select House committee described Chesbro’s actions.
The identity of the sixth co-conspirator is not yet known.
The document references an alleged Christmas Day exchange between Trump and Pence. “On December 25, when the Vice President called the Defendant to wish him a Merry Christmas, the Defendant quickly turned the conversation to January 6 and his request that the Vice President reject electoral votes that day,” the document says. “The Vice President pushed back, telling the Defendant, as the Vice President already had in previous conversations, ‘You know I don’t think I have the authority to change the outcome.’”
On Jan. 1, Trump eviscerated Pence for opposing a lawsuit that suggested he had the authority to reject the state election results, the indictment alleges. When Pence told him he did not have the constitutional authority to do so, Trump told him, “You’re too honest,” according to the document.