In the days leading up to the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, then-Vice President Mike Pence made “contemporaneous notes” of conversations he had with former President Donald Trump. The notes were revealed Tuesday in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of the former president.

Trump is accused of four federal crimes related to his actions following the 2020 presidential election as well as unsubstantiated claims that the election was rigged. Pence’s previously unreported notes are used as evidence against Trump, who has been accused of conspiring to defraud the United States, obstructing an official investigation, attempting to obstruct an investigation, and conspiring against rights.

“As the January 6 congressional certification proceeding approached and other efforts to impair, obstruct, and defeat the federal government function failed, [Trump] sought to enlist the Vice President to use his ceremonial role at the certification to fraudulently alter the election results,” the 45-page indictment alleges.

Smith’s indictment also describes a meeting between Trump and Pence on New Year’s Day that Pence described in his memoir. Trump, according to Pence, had a conversation about a lawsuit brought by Republicans asking a judge to rule that the vice president has “exclusive authority and sole discretion to determine which electoral votes should count.”

Trump was informed once more, according to Pence, “that I didn’t believe I possessed that power under the Constitution.”

“You’re too honest,” Trump replied, according to both Pence’s book and the indictment. “Hundreds of thousands are gonna hate your guts… People are gonna think you’re stupid.”

This argument between Trump and Pence allegedly continued for a few days.

The indictment then states that on Jan. 3, “Co-Conspirator 2 circulated a second memorandum that included a new plan under which, contrary to the ECA, the Vice President would send the elector slates to the state legislatures to determine which slate to count.”

A day later, Trump held a meeting with “Co-Conspirator 2,” Pence, Marc Short, the former chief of staff to the vice president, and Greg Jacob, former counsel to the vice president.

The details of this meeting, which were recorded in Pence’s notes, purportedly served to persuade Pence to annul the election. The White House Counsel was purposefully left out of the meeting, according to the indictment, “because the White House Counsel had previously resisted the Defendant’s false claims of election fraud.”


“During the meeting, as reflected in the Vice President’s contemporaneous notes, the Defendant made knowingly false claims of election fraud, including, ‘Bottom line-won every state by 100,000s of votes’ and ‘We won every state,’ and asked – regarding a claim his senior Justice Department officials previously had told him was false, including as recently as the night before – ‘What about 205,000 votes more in PA than voters?’” the indictment alleges.

The indictment then alleges that during a Jan. 5 meeting, Trump supposedly “grew frustrated with Pence and told his vice president he would have to publicly criticize him.”

“The Defendant did this first by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to convince the Vice President to accept the Defendant’s fraudulent electors, reject legitimate electoral votes, or send legitimate electoral votes to state legislatures for review rather than count them. When that failed, the Defendant attempted to use a crowd of supporters that he had gathered in Washington, D.C., to pressure the Vice President to fraudulently alter the election results,” the indictment added.

Fox News reported:

The indictment cites several phone calls between Trump and Pence in late December and early January in which Trump allegedly made “knowingly false” claims about the election and pressured his vice president to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory. Pence recounted some of these conversations in his memoir, “So Help Me God.”

According to Smith, Pence called Trump on Dec. 25, 2020, to wish him a Merry Christmas but Trump “quickly turned the conversation to January 6 and his request that the Vice President reject electoral votes that day.” Pence pushed back, asserting that he lacked the authority to change the election outcome.

Four days later, Trump allegedly told Pence that law enforcement had discovered evidence of illegal activity in the election. Pence’s notes state that Trump said the “Justice Department [was] finding major infractions,” a claim the special counsel calls false.

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