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‘Our country is more important than one man’, says Mike Pence as Trump indicted

Former vice president is now gunning for the top job as presidential nominee from the GOP side

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 02 August 2023 09:34 BST
Watch: Donald Trump’s third indictment explained

Mike Pence has broken his silence over Donald Trump’s indictment over the investigation into attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith charged Mr Trump with four felony counts related to the election subversion campaign his team ran in the days and weeks after he lost to Joe Biden.

Mr Trump’s former vice president, who was subjected by rioters during the Jan 6 insurrection in 2021 to calls for hanging him for not certifying the election results, has condemned his former boss in one of the strongest reactions to the indictment.

Mr Pence now counts himself as one of the Republican challengers against Mr Trump in the race to become president in 2024.

He has now said that the charges against his former boss are a reminder that “anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States”. “Our country is more important than one man. Our constitution is more important than any one man’s career,” he said.

The former vice president had in an initial statement said said he will have more to comment on once he reviews the indictment.

Mr Pence, in a hint to bolster his candidacy, further commented that his former boss’s decision to run for president again would only mean “more talk about January 6th and more distractions”.

“I will have more to say about the government’s case after reviewing the indictment. The former president is entitled to the presumption of innocence but with this indictment, his candidacy means more talk about January 6th and more distractions,” said Mr Pence’s initial statement.

Mr Trump’s charges include a conspiracy to deprive Americans’ right to vote and to have their votes counted, a statute rooted in bedrock civil rights protections enacted in the brutal aftermath of the US Civil War.

Also in the indictment is a description of a conversation between the former president, dubbed “defendant”, and Mr Pence, after the latter had told his boss that using his role as president of the senate to interfere with the chamber’s certification of the Electoral College vote would be illegal.

According to the indictment, Mr Trump responded by chiding his deputy for supposedly being “too honest”.

The conversation in question took place on 1 January 2023, according to the Justice Department – just five days before that certification vote took place amid a siege of Capitol Hill by thousands of Mr Trump’s supporters.

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