The House select committee on Jan. 6 will be investigating former vice president Mike Pence's role in the attempted insurrection.
New reporting about White House legal adviser John Eastman's memo outlining plans for a coup shows Pence was more deeply enmeshed than previously known in the scheme to keep Donald Trump in office despite his election loss, and committee member Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-MD) wants to learn more about his role, reported the Washington Post.
"It's an important part of the historical record to determine how close Trump actually came to achieving his scheme of getting Pence to declare unilateral power to reject electoral college votes," Raskin told Post columnist Greg Sargent.
Eastman told the New York Times that he urged Pence and his chief counsel Greg Jacob shortly before Jan. 6 that the vice president could delay counting electors when Congress met to certify the election, thus sending the process back to GOP-controlled state legislatures that could send rogue electors for Trump and set off a contingent election in the House.
"I think Jacob was looking for a way for he and Pence to be convinced to take the action that we were requesting, and so I think he continued to meet with me and push back on the arguments and hear my counters, what have you, to try and see whether they could reconcile themselves to what the president had asked," Eastman told the Times.
Pence ultimately decided he did not have the power to enact this scheme, but lawmakers have requested all executive branch documents and communications related to Jacob and are considering changes to the Electoral Count Act to prevent another vice president from corruptly interfering with election results.
"The structural weaknesses exposed by this episode are a looming danger for the republic," Raskin said. "We need to act within the electoral college paradigm to do whatever we can to make sure the vice-presidential role remains an administrative and ministerial one."