Memo Shows Lawyer Advising Mike Pence to Resist Trump's Jan. 6 Pressure

A newly revealed memo shows Mike Pence's attorney Greg Jacob advising him against giving into former President Donald Trump's demands to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

Trump refused to concede the election following his defeat, claiming without substantial evidence that widespread voter fraud led to his loss. In the months that followed, he and his allies planned to overturn the election. Their efforts included attempts to pressure Pence into blocking the certification of President Joe Biden's victory—though they failed to do so.

After a mob of Trump supporters rioted at the United States Capitol to prevent the electoral college certification, Pence and Congress ultimately certified the results.

A memo reported by Politico Saturday showed Jacob, who served as chief counsel for Pence, advising the former vice president to certify Biden's win, warning that not doing so would be a violation of the Electoral Count Act.

Memo shows Pence lawyer certify election votes
A memo shows Mike Pence’s attorney Greg Jacobs advising him to certify President Joe Biden’s victory ahead of the electoral college count after the 2020 presidential election. Above, Pence speaks in Kennesaw, Georgia on May 23, 2022.  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jacob concluded that if Pence were to try to block or delay the certification, he would "likely lose in court," according to the memo, dated January 5.

"In a best-case scenario in which the courts refused to get involved, the Vice President would likely find himself in an isolated standoff against both houses of Congress, as well as most or all of the applicable State legislatures, with no neutral arbiter available to break the impasse," the memo reads.

The memo assessed attorney John Eastman's plan to have Pence send competing slates of electors back to state legislatures, essentially declaring that the election is in dispute. But his assessment found the plan likely went against established law that mandates the transfer of power.

It ultimately helped inform Pence's decision to certify the vote, which quickly drew rebuke from Trump and his allies. During the January 6 riot, several Trump supporters even chanted "hang Mike Pence" inside the Capitol building—a chant Trump allegedly approved of, Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said during Thursday's televised hearing into the riot.

The memo comes just days before Jacob is set to testify in front of the committee investigating the Capitol riot on June 16, according to Politico. During last Thursday's hearing, it was revealed that Jacob wrote in an email to Eastman: "And thanks to your bulls**t, we are under siege."

Pence's decision to certify the election, while praised by members of both parties for upholding democracy, has made him unpopular among Trump voters, many of whom continue to push stolen election claims. But in the months that followed the riot, he has defended his decision to do so. In June, he said he was proud of his decision.

"And the truth is, there's almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president," he said in remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. "The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone."

Newsweek reached out to Pence's office for comment.