Capitol riot committee looking to speak to people close to Pence, report says

Congressional committee has shown keen interest in effort to persuade Pence to halt election certification

Friday 12 November 2021 09:38
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<p>Former Vice President Mike Pence </p>

Former Vice President Mike Pence

The House select committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol is focusing at least some of its efforts on figures close to former Vice President Mike Pence as it becomes clear that former President Donald Trump’s allies were intent on convincing him to halt the certification of Mr Trump’s loss.

CNN reported on Wednesday that the committee has shown interest in obtaining testimony or documents from several former aides to the vice president other than those already publicly announced as subpoena targets by lawmakers on the panel.

Among those previously unreported persons of interest include two of Mr Pence’s former chiefs of staff, Marc Short and Nick Ayers. Others including adviser Marty Obst and Zach Bauer, a former special assistant to the vice president, are also reportedly in the panel’s sights.

The Independent reached out to a spokesperson for Mr Pence regarding CNN’s reporting, but they declined to comment. CNN’s article cited three sources familiar with the committee’s intent on honing its focus around Mr Pence’s former aides.

The committee previously announced a subpoena targeting Keith Kellogg, who served as Mr Pence’s national security adviser until the end of the Trump administration. Mr Kellogg was allegedly in attendance for at least one meeting in which Mr Trump personally insisted that Mr Pence not certify the results of the 2020 election as his allies continued to claim, without any solid proof, that the race had been stolen in multiple battleground states.

Mr Pence has remained an active figure on the GOP stage even after publicly breaking with Mr Trump on 6 January and ultimately going ahead with the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. He recently spoke at two events in the DC area and has remained a potential contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in the eye of some analysts.

He continues to face claims of betrayal from hardline Republicans who insist that he should have gone along with the former president’s efforts to delay and overturn his 2020 defeat through the official recognition of “alternate” slates of state electors – though none were ever created or recognised by state legislatures or any official body.

The 6 January committee has subpoenaed dozens of former Trump administration officials who were in office in the days leading up to 6 January as well as others who were involved in the Trump campaign’s efforts to spread false claims about election fraud. One target who defied the panel’s subpoena, former Breitbart News chief and ex-Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, was referred to the Justice Department for a contempt of Congress charge after a House vote.

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