Pence tells GOP to stop lashing out at FBI over Trump search

  • Comments
  • Print

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday implored fellow Republicans to stop lashing out at the FBI over the search of Donald Trump’s Florida home and denounced calls by some of the former president’s allies to defund the FBI, saying that was “just as wrong” as a push by Democratic activists to shift money from police.

Pence also said he would give “due consideration” if asked to testify before the House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

His pleas for restraint come as law enforcement officials warn of an escalating number of violent threats targeting federal agents and government facilities since agents last week searched Mar-a-Lago as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s estate earlier this year.

Speaking in New Hampshire, Pence was asked what went through his mind when he heard about the FBI search of Trump’s home. Pence, who like Trump is considering a 2024 presidential bid, said he has been troubled by what he called the politicization of the FBI. The former Indiana governor also said the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland should be more forthcoming about what led authorities to conduct the search.

But Trump’s former vice president also had a message for the GOP.

“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” he said at the Politics & Eggs event at St. Anselm College.

“The Republican Party is the party of law and order,” Pence continued. “Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”

Federal authorities and private extremism monitors have warned that a growing number of ardent Trump supporters seem ready to strike back against the FBI or others who, they believe, go too far in investigating the former president.

In Ohio, a man wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle and a nail gun was shot and killed after trying to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office. In Pennsylvania, a man was arrested after posting death threats against agents on social media.

FBI Director Christopher Wray had said that threats to agents and the Justice Department are “deplorable and dangerous.” The FBI has warned its agents to take precautions, citing an increase in social media threats to bureau personnel and facilities. Some GOP lawmakers and others are demanding that FBI be dismantled and defunded.

Pence, who has been strategically trying to distance himself from his ex-boss, prefaced his response by saying, “Look, it’s fairly well known that President Trump and I have had our differences.” Still, Pence has been careful to frequently cite the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration,” hoping that he can appeal to voters who may have supported Trump’s policies but are put off by Trump’s behavior.

Their paths diverged on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress’ formal certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Trump denounced his vice president for refusing to object or delay the certification — something Pence had no power to do. A fake gallows was constructed on the National Mall, and people who broke into the Capitol chanted, “ Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! ”

Pence had previously refused to say whether he would engage with the House committee investigating the insurrection if the panel requested his testimony. On Wednesday, he said he would consider it.

“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said, adding he would first reflect “on the unique role” he was serving as vice president.

“It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill, but as I said, I don’t want to prejudge,” he said. “If ever any formal invitation was rendered to us, we’d give it due consideration.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

10 thoughts on “Pence tells GOP to stop lashing out at FBI over Trump search

  1. Many that are true conservatives are fed up with status quo “roll over to every Demo partisan investigation” so-called Republicans that might as well switch parties to be what they truly advocate, which is left-leaning big government, wink and nod governance that is severely damaging America. Pence is the poster child example. He was a lightweight governor and he was a do-nothing vice president. Poor choice on Trump’s part. The growing ground-swell of true conservatives regard the persecution of Donald Trump, that started before he was elected president, continued throughout his entire term of president, and continues unabated ever since he has been out of office, as completely unacceptable. It is way past time for an accounting of this unprecedented persecution in terms of the multi-millions of taxpayer funded dollars this has cost that has yielded nothing. It is a glaring example of why so many embraced Trump, namely to end the corrupt, institutional governance by career politicians that begin their elected careers with little wealth and very quickly amass huge fortunes, and fail the American electorate with policies that become increasingly inefficient and ineffective every single year, year after year. Both the FBI and IRS, two of the most powerful federal law enforcement agencies, have been severely weaponized to serve both the Republican and Democrat Parties rather than the citizens of the United States they swore an oath to protect. Pence has shown his true colors and tarnished himself far beyond any functional utility as a political leader. I voted for him more than once in past elections but never again. Pretty sure many others will do likewise.

    1. So, flashback to 2016 … both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton under investigation by the FBI at the same time … yet the FBI doesn’t tell anyone that Trump is under investigation until after the election and they tell everyone that Clinton is under a new investigation days before an election?

      So if you honestly think the FBI has it out for Donald Trump, just recall the assistance he was given in 2016.

    2. Mark is the epitome of radical right-wing extremists who live in their FOX News bubble. Their perception of reality is simply built on a steady stream of lies and distortion. Trump has lived his entire life as a liar, a bully, a cheat, and a man unmoored from any sense of decency, patriotism or morality. These are the very qualities that drew so many angry and disaffected people to him. He is the perfect example of a mob boss. God help our country and world if he is not held accountable.

    3. Gary–

      Nobody had any problem with trump as recently as 2015. All the people pouncing on him would happily be seen in photos with him at galas with 5-digit price tags. People forgave his moral failings, his infidelities, his failed businesses (since his successful ones vastly outnumbered and outperformed the failures).

      You’re an ideologue who is threatened by his politics. And his politics aren’t going to go anywhere when he croaks. The attempts to take him down are causing much younger people to take the banner and they’re sprouting like mushrooms. The globalist utopia promoted by the GOP and (especially) the Dems is going to come crashing down along with World War III.

      Mike is 100% correct about the FBI and IRS and you’d be outraged if it weren’t for your own ideological allegiances. This is the stuff of a banana republic, and it would be the same if they were going after leftist dissidents. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they eventually went after Tulsi Gabbard as well. Clinton got a pass because she’s political royalty. J. Edgar did much the same thing to leftist dissidents in the 50s and 60s, so don’t think I’m giving right-wingers a fair pass; it was completely unethical then as well, but at least Hoover was a bit more subtle.

      Swamprat Pence’s political career is over. He can go the same path as another failed neo-con from Wyoming: book deals, a guest spot on CNN or MSNBC or some other collapsing legacy media outlet, an honorary position in some neo-con think tank. He’ll keep rolling in the dough because the money train rewards people (neo-cons or neo-libs, they’re basically the same thing) who toe the line.

  2. Trump is a thrice married, bankruptcy prone, woman abusing, draft dodging, tax defrauding, serial liar. At one time, any one of those faults would have disqualified him from any position in the R party. Today, he is adored and supported by people in that party who are ignorant of our history. A sad commentary on our educational system.

    1. You didn’t give two hoots about any of this before 2016, and he’s not the first (nor certainly the last) to lay claim to these moral faults. A certain William Jefferson can claim almost all the same things, and then some…and he still managed to be a pretty decent president. Not a good person, but a good president. Meanwhile, the morally upright Jimmy Carter is a good person, was a bad president.

  3. You are correct Lauren; I did not give two hoots about private citizen Trump, but when he entered politics, then I cared about who he was and what kind of leader he might be. He has shown; a very destructive person whose singular talent seems to be grade school level insults. Not what our country needed, not now, not ever.

  4. Lauren B – he wasn’t running for office before 2016. Big difference. Before 2016 he was just a laughable idiot. After that, he was the person that was to represent our country across the world, which would make him our official laughable idiot. BIG difference.