Updated Nov 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pence: FBI search at Mar-a-Lago "sent the wrong message"

Former US Vice President Mike Pence during the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

Former Vice President Mike Pence during the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 18. Photo: Ronda Churchill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence told NBC's Meet the Press that "no one is above the law" when asked about former President Trump's role in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: "But I would hope the Justice Department would give careful consideration before they take any additional steps in this matter," Pence said during the interview airing Sunday.

  • Pence criticized the Department of Justice for executing the search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, saying it "sent the wrong message."
  • "I put the blame for the decision to execute a search warrant at the personal residence of the former President of the United States on the leadership of the Justice Department," he said.
  • "It's inconceivable to me that that wasn't a decision that was made at the very highest levels, and approved at the highest levels."
  • "It was a divisive message in this country. But I think worse still, it was the wrong message to the wider world that looks to America as the gold standard," he said.
  • "I want to see the credibility of the Justice Department restored after years of politicization during the Trump-Pence administration," he added.

What he's saying: Pence also said that Trump ahead of Jan. 6 was "repeating ... what he was hearing from that gaggle of attorneys around him."

  • "I don't know if it is criminal to listen to bad advice from lawyers," Pence said when asked whether Trump committed a criminal act in connection with the Capitol riot.
  • The former vice president said during an interview on CBS' Face the Nation that Trump "had decided to be a part of the problem" on Jan. 6.
  • Pence also touted the "leaders in both political parties" on Jan. 6, saying, "there was a unanimous agreement that whatever needed to be done, we needed to reconvene the Congress that day and finish our work."

The big picture: Pence would not say definitively whether he will seek election in 2024.

  • "I look forward to being involved in the process in some way," he told CBS.
  • "Whether we are in the debate as a candidate, or in the debate as simply as an active Republican, I look forward to getting behind the Republican cause and supporting candidates around the country as well as our nominee to get this country turned back to the policies that will make us strong and prosperous again," he said.
  • Earlier this week, the former vice president said in an interview with AP that he and his family will consider over the holidays "what our role might be in the days ahead."
  • When asked about whether Trump should seek re-election he said, "I do think we'll have better choices."

Go deeper... Pence: Trump "decided to be part of the problem" on Jan. 6

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details from Mike Pence's interview with CBS News' Face the Nation.

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