In a new book, former Vice President Mike Pence recalled the “fateful day” Donald Trump put conspiracy theorists Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell in charge of his legal strategy to fight the results of the 2020 presidential election.
According to an excerpt from the book published by Axios, during a November 2020 meeting, Trump’s campaign lawyers clashed with a “growing group of outside attorneys” led by Giuliani and Powell, who insisted the campaign lawyers were wrong.
“After the campaign lawyers gave a sober and somewhat pessimistic report on the state of election challenges, the outside cast of characters went on the attack,” Pence wrote. “Giuliani told the president over the speakerphone, ‘Your lawyers are not telling you the truth, Mr. President.’”
“Even in an office well acquainted with rough-and-tumble debates, it was a new low,” Pence wrote, adding that it all “went downhill from there.”
Giuliani and Powell are being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars by two voting systems companies, Smartmatic and Dominion, over the slew of baseless fraud claims they promoted after the 2020 vote.
“That day the president made the fateful decision to put Giuliani and Sidney Powell in charge of the legal strategy,” Pence added, “The seeds were being sown for a tragic day in January.”
A rift has developed between Trump and Pence since the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, during which Trump’s supporters called for the then-vice president to be hanged because he refused to help Trump overturn the election.
Pence had to be evacuated from the Senate chamber during the riot, and members of his security detail said they feared for their lives during the ordeal.
Trump has said that Pence would not be his running mate if he decided to throw his hat in the ring in 2024. Meanwhile, Pence has hinted at his own 2024 run. Earlier this month, when asked if he’d support Trump if he was the Republican nominee, Pence said “there might be somebody else I’d prefer more.”