Pence skirts crucial questions about Trump’s election indictment

Pence, other Republican 2024 hopefuls have been cautious about openly disparaging the DoJ’s Jan 6 case

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 06 August 2023 20:36 BST
Bill Barr dismisses Donald Trump's First Amendment defence following indictment

Mike Pence was evasive when answering questions from a CBS reporter in a new interview touching upon Donald Trump’s indictment on charges related to the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The former vice president, whom Mr Trump’s team has spoken openly about cross-examining in the ex-president’s upcoming trial, has largely remained on Mr Trump’s side when it comes to the barrage of legal threats now facing him. But he has not reserved that same loyalty amid Mr Trump’s newest criminal charges, on which he refused to take a side.

Speaking with Major Garrett, Mr Pence dodged questions about whether the prosecution of Mr Trump specifically was “politicised” — a charge the Trump team has levelled —while making those same gratuitious swipes at the Justice Department over unrelated issues, like the ongoing prosecution of Hunter Biden.

“I don't want to prejudge this indictment. I don't know whether the government has the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to support this case,” said the former vice president, who was at the very centre of the events now being examined for prosecution by the Department of Justice.

He lashed out at the January 6 committee and its conclusion, which has largely been borne out in the Justice Department’s latest indictment. He also attacked the DoJ and vowed to “clean house” in 2025 if elected — while carefully limiting his criticisms to the now-shuttered Robert Mueller investigation and the GOP’s allegations that the department slow-walked and watered down the prosecution of President Joe Biden’s son, who was charged this year.

In the interview, he also answered whether he’d take the stand against his former boss if called to do so, telling Garrett that he had no plans to voluntarily testify but would obey a subpoena.

“I have no plans to testify, but people can be confident we’ll- we’ll obey the law,” he said.

Mr Pence is currently polling in the mid to low single digits in the Republican primary race, and has seen little traction among a primary base that largely remains loyal to Mr Trump and largely refuses to accept the fact that the ex-vice president’s interference on Mr Trump’s behalf to overturn or stall the election’s certification would have been unconstitutional.

He has faced angry questions from voters on that very issue at campaign stop after campaign stop, while Mr Trump continues to attack him and insist that he should have worked to stop an imaginary theft of the 2020 election. The former president remains atop the GOP primary field, the odds-on favourite to win the nomination as most of his competition languishes in single-digit or low double-digit polling territory.

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