Aug 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pence says he would "consider" testifying before Jan. 6 panel

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at "Politics & Eggs" at the New Hampshire Institute Politics at St. Anselm College on August 17, 2022
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at "Politics & Eggs" at the New Hampshire Institute Politics at St. Anselm College on August 17. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he'd "consider" testifying before the House Jan. 6 committee and that attacks against the FBI "must stop" in the aftermath of the search warrant at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Why it matters: Pence's remarks come as he is ramping up travel ahead of a likely 2024 presidential bid and amid an uptick in threats to federal law enforcement after the search.

  • Trump earlier this week called for the "temperature ... to be brought down" after the search, but also reiterated his attacks on the FBI, saying that Americans are "not going to stand for another scam."

Driving the news: "We can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI," Pence said at an event at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

  • "The Republican Party is the party of law and order," he continued.
  • "Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police."
  • Pence also said he would urge Attorney General Merrick Garland to release additional information related to the search. "This unprecedented action does demand unprecedented transparency," he said.

State of play: Pence also indicated Wednesday that he would "consider" testifying before the Jan. 6 select committee, "if there was an invitation to participate," but added that it would be "unprecedented."

  • "You've heard me mention the Constitution a few times this morning. [Through] the Constitution, we have three co-equal branches of government and any invitation that would be directed to me, I would have to reflect on that," he said.
  • "It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill ... But as I said, I don't want to prejudge. If ever any formal invitation [is] rendered to us, we'd give it due consideration."

Between the lines: A number of aides close to Pence have testified before the committee, but members of the panel have not asked the former vice president to testify himself.

  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of two Republicans serving on the Jan. 6 select committee, said in May that he would "love" to see Pence appear, adding that he hoped Pence "would do so voluntarily.
  • Pence's remarks on Wednesday stand in stark contrast to Trump's, who has repeatedly slammed the committee's work.

Yes, but: Last month, Marc Short, Pence's former chief of staff, said that Pence testifying could set a "very risky precedent."

  • "Do you want a precedent where all of a sudden you're allowed to bring former vice presidents to talk about what they were doing when they were vice president into Congress to talk about their conversations with the president of the United States?" Short said. "I think it's a very risky precedent."

Go deeper... Former Pence aide: Testifying to Jan. 6 panel could set "very risky precedent"

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