MANCHESTER, NH (AP) — Former Vice President Mike Pence implored on Wednesday Republican colleagues at Stop taking it out on the FBI more the search of Donald Trump’s home in Florida and denounced calls by some of the former president’s allies to defund the FBI, saying it was “just as bad” as a push from Democratic activists to transfer police money.
Pence also said he would give “due consideration” if asked to testify before the House committee investigating the United States Capitol riot is Jan 6, 2021.
His pleas for restraint come as law enforcement officials warn of a growing number of violent threats targeting federal agents and government facilities since agents last week Wanted Mar-a-Lago as a member of The Department of Justice investigation in the discovery of classified White House documents recovered from Trump’s estate earlier this year.
Speaking in New Hampshire, Pence said he was troubled by what he called the politicization of the FBI. He also said the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland should be more open about what led authorities to conduct the search.
But Pence, who is trying to chart his own political course as a he and Trump both eye 2024 presidential campaignsalso had a message for the GOP.
“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans that we can hold the Attorney General accountable for the decision he made without attacking members of FBI law enforcement,” he said during the Politics & Eggs event, a breakfast. at St. Anselm College for business leaders which has become a regular stop for White House hopefuls in the early voting state.
“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, state and local levels, and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls for defunding the FBI are just as misguided as calls for defunding the police.
Trump and some other Republican lawmakers tried to capitalize on the raid by portraying it as an act of political persecution and an attack on the rule of law.
For former political allies, their paths diverged on January 6, 2021, when a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from officially certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Trump denounced his vice president, who was presiding over the Senate, for refusing to oppose or delay certification – something Pence didn’t have the power to do. A fake gallows was built on the National Mall, and people who stormed into the Capitol chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” Hang Mike Pence!
Prior to Wednesday, Pence had declined to say whether he would engage with the House committee investigating the insurgency if the panel asked for his testimony.
“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said, adding that he would first consider “the unique role” he has as vice president.
“It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be called to testify on Capitol Hill, but like I said, I don’t want to prejudge,” he said. “If ever a formal invitation were extended to us, we would give it all the attention it deserves.”
A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment on Pence’s remarks.
The committee and Pence’s team have had an open line of communication since former Pence chief of staff Marc Short agreed to testify privately 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 taped testimony, released at the committee’s public hearings this summer, he described attending pre-insurgency White House meetings where Trump allies discussed ways to overturn election results. of 2020.
At one point, Trump banned Short from the White House grounds because Short objected to pressure on Pence to reject legitimate election results.
So far, committee members have not decided to request Pence’s testimony, saying that Short and Pence’s former attorney, Greg Jacobs, have provided investigators with ample evidence.
Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.
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