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In its third hearing, the House Jan. 6 panel will hear from 2 witnesses


Today, the January 6 House committee is focused on Donald Trump's pressure campaign against his own vice president, trying to get Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results. Pence presided over an electoral vote count that day at the Capitol.


MIKE PENCE: To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win.

MARTIN: Pence had to be evacuated from the House floor to a secret location as rioters storming the Capitol shouted hang Mike Pence. This after Trump told a rally earlier in the day that he'd be, quote, "very disappointed" if Pence certified the vote. I talked with NPR's Claudia Grisales about what is coming in today's hearing.

Is the panel going to demonstrate today that Pence was in real danger?

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Yes. Select panel aides say they will show that danger Pence faced as a result of blocking Trump's effort to reject the 2020 election result. We'll hear from two witnesses. Pence's former White House counsel Greg Jacob and retired Judge Michael Luttig both were part of a team that pushed back against this Trump pressure campaign. This campaign also included Trump allies such as lawyer John Eastman. He wrote a memo instructing Pence how to step out of his largely ceremonial constitutional role during last year's certification of the election's results and try to throw the election Trump's way.

MARTIN: So Eastman - this is Trump's lawyer again - he's working behind the scenes to try and overturn the election?

GRISALES: Yes. Exactly. In a preview shared by the panel, former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told investigators he told Eastman the day after the January 6 attack some choice words. And this exchange illustrates the palpable anger. Eastman was still talking about legal challenges. And Herschmann recounted what he told him.


ERIC HERSCHMANN: I don't want to hear any other F-ing (ph) words coming out of your mouth other than orderly transition. Repeat those words to me. And eventually, he said, orderly transition. I said, good, John.

GRISALES: Herschmann said that was followed by a tip he gave Eastman.


HERSCHMANN: Now I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever getting in your life. Get a great F-ing criminal defense lawyer. You're going to need it. And then I hung up on him.

GRISALES: And so that, in some way, sets the stage for this legal battle that follows the fallout from actions Eastman and others pursued on Trump's behalf to try and undo the election's results.

MARTIN: Wow. So I mean, this is a split that continues to this day - right? - Pence...


MARTIN: ...And his allies against Trump and those who remain close to him. What other members of Pence's team could we hear from today?

GRISALES: Committee aides also expect to share clips of testimony from former Pence chief of staff Marc Short. He saw Pence rewrite his remarks in the chamber to make clear he would not follow through with Eastman's or Trump's demands. Short also witnessed Pence's side of heated conversations with Trump on the day of the attack.

MARTIN: So the committee's schedule has been a bit in flux. They postponed a hearing yesterday. What is the plan moving ahead?

GRISALES: There's more hearings this month to focus on this Trump pressure campaign, at least two next week. For example, some areas they're going to look at is how he tried to influence the Justice Department and how he influenced the mob that day during the attack. For now, we have those two hearings next week. Those two, but more could be added later this month. And they expect to issue a final report and release depositions of more than a thousand witnesses who have appeared later this year.

MARTIN: OK. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales. Thank you, Claudia.

GRISALES: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.