Pence to GOP: Stop Lashing Out at FBI 08/18 06:06
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday
implored fellow Republicans to stop lashing out at the FBI over the search of
Donald Trump's Florida home and denounced calls by some of the former
president's allies to defund the FBI, saying that was "just as wrong" as a push
by Democratic activists to shift money from police.
Pence also said he would give "due consideration" if asked to testify before
the House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
His pleas for restraint come as law enforcement officials warn of an
escalating number of violent threats targeting federal agents and government
facilities since agents last week searched Mar-a-Lago as part of the Justice
Department's investigation into the discovery of classified White House records
recovered from Trump's estate earlier this year.
Speaking in New Hampshire, Pence said he has been troubled by what he called
the politicization of the FBI. He also said the Justice Department and Attorney
General Merrick Garland should be more forthcoming about what led authorities
to conduct the search.
But Pence, who is trying to stake out his own political path as he and Trump
both consider 2024 presidential campaigns, also had a message for the GOP.
"I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the attorney
general accountable for the decision he made without attacking the
rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI," he said at the Politics &
Eggs event, a breakfast gathering at St. Anselm College for business leaders
that has become a customary stop for White House hopefuls in the early-voting
"The Republican Party is the party of law and order," Pence 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."
Trump and some other Republican lawmakers have tried to capitalize on the
search by portraying it as an act of political persecution and an attack on the
rule of law.
For the onetime political allies, their paths diverged on Jan. 6, 2021, when
a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop
Congress' formal certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory. Trump
denounced his vice president, who was presiding over the Senate, for refusing
to object or delay the certification -- something Pence had no power to do. A
fake gallows was constructed on the National Mall, and people who broke into
the Capitol chanted, "Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!"
Before Wednesday, Pence had refused to say whether he would engage with the
House committee investigating the insurrection if the panel requested his
"If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it," Pence
said, adding he would first reflect "on the unique role" he was serving as vice
"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," he said. "If
ever any formal invitation was rendered to us, we'd give it due consideration."
A committee spokesperson declined comment on Pence's remarks.
The committee and Pence's team have had an open line of communication since
Pence's former chief of staff, Marc Short, agreed to testify in private in
December 2021 after receiving a subpoena. Short was at the Capitol on Jan. 6
and accompanied Pence as the then-vice president fled the Senate chamber and
hid from rioters who were calling for his hanging.
In Short's recorded testimony, aired at the committee's public hearings this
summer, he described attending White House meetings before the insurrection
during which Trump allies discussed ways to overturn the results of the 2020
At one point, Trump had banned Short from the White House grounds because
Short objected to the pressure on Pence to reject the legitimate election
Committee members so far have not decided to seek Pence's testimony, saying
that Short and former Pence lawyer Greg Jacobs have provided investigators with
plenty of evidence.