Jan. 6 Panel Member Thinks Pence Will Testify to Committee

Jan. 6 Panel Member Thinks Pence Will Testify to Committee
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd during an event sponsored by the Palmetto Family organization in Columbia, S.C., on April 29, 2021. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

A member of the House of Representatives panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol thinks former Vice President Mike Pence will testify to the panel without being subpoenaed.

"I would assume he's going to come forward and testify voluntarily, the way the vast majority of people have," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

Pence, who was presiding over the joint session of Congress to certify electoral votes on the day the Capitol was breached, said in mid-August he would consider talking to the panel if asked. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the committee, said soon after that the committee had been having discussions with Pence's lawyers. Shortly after that, though, Pence said the panel was "very partisan" and that if he received "a formal invitation" to testify, he would "reflect very carefully on my obligations to preserve the separation of powers and the constitutional framework that I served in."

Many Republicans have criticized the panel because it is primarily composed of Democrats. The only Republicans are Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), both of whom are virulently against former President Donald Trump. The composition came about because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected several members proposed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). McCarthy then pulled all of his proposals. Pelosi picked both Cheney and Kinzinger.

The panel has spoken to hundreds of people, including Keith Kellogg, Pence's former national security adviser; Kayleigh McEnany, former White House press secretary; and Marc Short, Pence's former chief of staff. It has also issued subpoenas for the testimony of some former administration officials, and refusal to obey the subpoenas has led to criminal charges against several of them.

Raskin said subpoenas are an option for any potential witness, including Pence, but "we're trying to get everybody to come forward voluntarily."

Raskin said Pence was important to interview because he was "the target of Donald Trump's wrath and fury and effort to overthrow the election on January 6."

Pence was under pressure from Trump to reject the electoral votes from states where election laws were violated or thought to be violated, but said the morning of the session that the U.S. Constitution constrained him from acting as Trump wanted him to.

"The whole idea was to get Pence to step outside his constitutional role and then to declare unilateral lawless powers to reject Electoral College votes from the states," Raskin said. "So I think he has a lot of relevant evidence, and I would hope he would come forward and testify about what happened."

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