Trump lawyer says Pence will be their “best witness” in 2020 election case

Washington — Former President Donald Trump’s attorney John Lauro argued former Vice President Mike Pence will be the defense’s “best witness” in the federal case accusing Trump of trying to overturn the 2020 election results, even as Pence seeks to distance himself from Trump’s characterization of events.

In an interview with “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Lauro said he is not concerned about Pence potentially being called as a witness in the case.

“The vice president will be our best witness,” Lauro said. “The reason why Vice President Pence will be so important to the defense is … number one, he agrees that John Eastman, who gave legal advice to President Trump, was an esteemed legal scholar. Number two, he agrees that there were election irregularities, fraud, unlawful actions at the state level. All of that will eviscerate any allegation of criminal intent on the part of President Trump.”

Trump is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights for his alleged actions related to his 2020 election loss. Trump has pleaded not guilty, and Lauro said he would not take a plea deal.

Pence is a key figure in the prosecution’s case, with the indictment portraying him as the central force resisting the alleged schemes to delay the transfer of power and repeatedly being pressured by Trump to overturn the Electoral College results.

Pence has rejected the notion that Trump only asked him to pause the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, to allow for audits of state elections results.

“That’s not what happened,” Pence told “Face the Nation.”

“From sometime in the middle of December, the president began to be told that I had some authority to reject or return votes back to the states,” Pence said. “I had no such authority.”

Pence said he told Trump that they should “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,” he said.

Lauro acknowledged Trump and Pence disagreed on how the electoral votes should have been handled.

“Now, of course, there was a constitutional disagreement between Vice President Pence and President Trump,” Lauro said. “But the bottom line is never, never in our country’s history have those kinds of disagreements been prosecuted criminally.”

“The ultimate request was to allow the states time to audit and rectify,” Lauro continued. “Ultimately, Vice President Pence disagreed with that. And following that there was a transition of power.”

Despite the disagreement, Lauro said Pence never told Trump his alleged actions were criminal.

“He may have disagreed about a constitutional position but he never characterized it as criminal,” he said.

Pence said he will testify if the case against Trump goes to trial if he is required.

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