Mike Pence kept 'notes' of Trump meetings, indictment shows

 August 3, 2023

As he faces the prospect of becoming a political prisoner, former President Donald Trump will no doubt be furious to learn that the evidence against him includes secret notes from Vice President Mike Pence.  

The previously unreported notes were mentioned in Jack Smith's bogus indictment of Trump for trying to "overturn" the 2020 election.

The notes are sure to drive a wedge even deeper between Trump and Pence, who have grown estranged since January 6th.

Pence's "secret notes"

Pence has long maintained he performed his duty under the Constitution by recognizing Biden as the winner. After the indictment news Tuesday, he came out swinging at his former boss, who is the frontrunner in the Republican primary.

"Today's indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States," Pence said. "I will have more to say about the government’s case after reviewing the indictment."

The indictment accuses Trump of pressuring Pence to go beyond his "ceremonial role" by rejecting Biden's electors, mentioning several instances where Trump broached the subject, only for Pence to dismiss it.

In one exchange, on Christmas Day, Pence reportedly told Trump, "You know I don't think I have the authority to change the outcome." On a separate occasion, Pence marked down that Trump had told him the "Justice Department [was] finding major infractions" with the election.

Criminalizing dissent

The word "insurrection" is never mentioned in the indictment, which indirectly blames Trump for giving his supporters, some of whom stormed the Capitol, "false hope" that Pence could send the election back to the states.

Many, including legal experts like Jonathan Turley, have expressed concern that the indictment criminalizes political speech.

Smith accuses Trump of "knowingly lying" about the election results, but the indictment never gets around to providing any evidence of this. If anything, it suggests that Trump sincerely believed he was robbed of a second term.

In his notes, Pence mentions a January 4 meeting at which Trump said he had "won every state by 100,000s of votes."

Ahead of his arraignment in Washington on Thursday, Trump insisted he is being persecuted for challenging a "RIGGED, CORRUPT, AND STOLEN ELECTION."

Pence has become persona non grata with Trump and many Republican voters ever since January 6th, as reflected in his failure to qualify for the first debate in the Republican primary.

If Pence's notes play a role in convicting Trump (although, in DC, the evidence likely doesn't make a difference), it is difficult to see how Pence's relationship with Trump - and millions of American voters who truly believe Trump is being treated unfairly - will ever recover.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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