Bennie Thompson Targets Mike Pence For Jan 6 Testimony

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The targets of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot are getting closer to former President Donald Trump himself. Now, committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has stated that he’d like to directly hear from former Vice President Mike Pence, who could provide critical firsthand accounts of efforts by the then-president and his allies to block the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. Pence faced pressure to block the Congressional certification of the election results in his role overseeing the certification proceedings, although he didn’t actually possess the legally recognized power to undertake such a move — but that didn’t stop Trump and others from trying to make the case that he did.

Thompson told CNN that he “would hope that [Pence] would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee… We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept. Everything is under consideration.” The chairman added as follows, discussing the riot-associated threats to Pence:

‘His life was at risk. There were people who had gallows erected on the lawn of the Capitol ostensibly to hang the vice president. There were people on them threatening the life of the vice president. The vice president could not leave the Capitol of the United States because of the riot. He was sequestered in an area in the Capitol. So his life was in danger.’

Thompson explained that specific points of interest for the committee include “what [Pence’s] security detail told him was going on.” It’s unclear whether Pence would be willing to speak with the riot investigation committee, although ex-aides associated with the vice president including his former chief of staff, Marc Short, have been among those who have already spoken with committee investigators. In all, the panel has heard from over 300 individuals and counting, with public hearings under development for the near future, although it’s not immediately clear which individuals might end up appearing at those hearings as witnesses.

It’s worth noting that Trump has explicitly defended the chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” that rang out at the Capitol during the violence there last January — so although the whole situation was obviously long since damaging enough, not even threats to his former second-in-command appear to be enough to faze Trump. Asked specifically about the chants targeting Pence, Trump ranted about the then-VP’s role overseeing the election outcome certification process, saying: “It’s common sense that you’re supposed to protect. How can you — if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? — how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress? How can you do that?” The results weren’t fraudulent.