Former VP responds to reports 6 January committee will investigate him
Former Vice President Mike Pence is firing back after it was reported that the House select committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol will probe his actions leading up to the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Mr Pence appeared on Fox News, which for years was the home of friendly interviews of former President Donald Trump and various figures in his administration, and blamed the mainstream US political media for focusing so much attention on the deadly riot, during which Trump supporters attempted to stop Congress from conducting the peaceful transfer of power.
“I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January,” Mr Pence said on Monday in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
He argued that the focus on the Capitol riot was meant to “demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020”.
“For our part, I truly believe we all ought to remain completely focused on the future. That’s where I’m focused,” said Mr Pence, echoing remarks from House Republicans who have resisted any effort to investigate the events leading up to the 6 January attack.
His statement comes just hours after a Democrat on the House 6 January select panel told The Washington Post that Mr Pence’s actions would be within the scope of his committee’s investigation into 6 January, as a recent report in The New York Times revealed that Mr Pence apparently considered a plan presented by a lawyer for Mr Trump, John Eastman, in which he would declare Electoral College votes from states where the Trump campaign disputed the results “invalid” during the Senate’s certification of the election results.
That plan was never carried out, but the Times reported that Mr Pence considered the plan during an Oval Office meeting with Mr Eastman and Mr Trump, and added that he and his staff continued to consider the plan in communications over following days.
The vice president and his aides “continued to meet with me and push back on the arguments and hear my counters, what have you, to try and see whether they could reconcile themselves to what the president had asked,” Mr Eastman told the Times.
Rep Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, told the Post that the Times’s reporting illustrated the need to investigate every member of Mr Trump’s inner circle.
“It’s an important part of the historical record to determine how close Trump actually came to achieving his scheme of getting Pence to declare unilateral power to reject electoral college votes,” he said.
Several members of Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan police who responded to the Capitol attack died during the siege and in the weeks and months following the attack. Republicans have largely resisted efforts by congressional Democrats, who hold a majority in the House and a 51-50 majority in the Senate due to control of the White House, to hold a formal investigation of the attack.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all Republican members from the select committee in July, save for Reps Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, who both refused to withdraw from the commission and have sharply criticised their GOP colleagues.