Pence reveals moment he believes Trump considered accepting that he lost the election

Former vice president was key to ex-president’s effort to halt Biden’s victory from being certified by senate

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 07 August 2023 00:21 EDT
Watch: Donald Trump's third indictment explained

Former vice president Mike Pence has described a moment when he believes Donald Trump legitimately considered – albeit briefly – accepting the lawful and valid results of the 2020 election.

Mr Pence was speaking to CBS’s Major Garrett on Sunday about the newly filed indictment against Mr Trump, charging him with several crimes related to the former president’s efforts to overturn the presidential election.

Among the crimes Mr Trump is accused of is depriving Americans of their right to a duly elected president via his efforts to interfere in the legal process of transferring power between administrations.

The former vice president was central to that effort.

As president of the Senate, the vice president presides over the special session of the chamber wherein the results of the election are certified.

Mr Trump attempted to persuade Mr Pence throughout the latter part of 2020 to interfere in that process and demand that the election certification be halted while Republican-led state legislatures in states where Mr Trump lost would supposedly work to throw out the lawful election results and substitute their own.

Mr Pence refused, however, and the transfer of power went ahead following an unsuccessful attempt by a mob of Trump supporters to invade the Capitol and prevent the process from taking place.

During his interview on Sunday, Mr Pence recounted a conversation with Mr Trump that took place in December 2020 – just weeks before the attack on Capitol Hill – where he says he thinks his boss may have considered not going ahead with his effort to interfere in the transfer of power should his court challenges fail, which they eventually all did.

“I remember one occasion before Christmas, where the president asked me what... he thought we ought to do. We were just the two of us in the Oval Office, Major,” Mr Pence told Garrett.

“And I remember, I looked at him and I said, look, let all the lawsuits play out, let the Congress do their work to consider objections, but I said at the end of the day, if the election goes the other way, I said we ought to take a bow, we ought to travel around the country.

And I remember, I remember, the president is standing in front of his desk, listening very intently to me, and I'll never forget the way he just kind of pointed at me as if to... say, that's worth thinking about.”

Mr Trump’s legal team has denied any wrongdoing in the Jan 6 case and has warned that they will call Mr Pence to testify.

The ex-president faces dozens of criminal charges while he campaigns for a second term in office. Despite his professed innocence, his legal team separately said on Sunday that they expect indictments to be handed down in Georgia’s investigation into the president and his campaign’s efforts to overturn the election in that state.

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