Former Vice President Mike Pence has ruled out testifying before the House Jan. 6 committee, saying that Congress “has no right” to his testimony.
The comment was made during an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Nov. 16.
“I am closing the door on that,” he said, contending, “We have a separation of powers under the Constitution of the United States.”
The former vice president said that such an act would create a bad precedent.
“And I believe it would establish a terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House,” he said.
Pence further raised concern about the partisan nature of the Democrat-led committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach.
“But I must say again, the partisan nature of the January 6 committee has been a disappointment to me,” he added. “It seemed to me in the beginning, there was an opportunity to examine every aspect of what happened on January 6, and to do so more in the spirit of the 9/11 Commission—nonpartisan, nonpolitical—and that was an opportunity lost.”
The investigation panel consists of nine representatives but only two GOP members, both of whom are outspoken critics of former President Donald Trump who voted to impeach him in January 2021, and were picked by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Yet Pence stressed that he had never obstructed his staffers from appearing before the committee.
“I never stood in the way of senior members of my team cooperating with the committee and testifying,” he said.
Pence aides, including his former chief of staff Marc Short and legal counsel Greg Jacob, have testified before the panel.
They told the Jan. 6 panel in a June hearing that Trump pressured the then-vice president to overturn his 2020 election defeat, before and during the Capitol breach.
Reversal of Earlier Stance
With these new comments, Pence reversed his earlier position.
Back in August, Pence said he would consider appearing before the panel if subpoenaed.
“If there [were] an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said at an event at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.
Later, he backpedaled his willingness while speaking with a more cautious tone about the matter.
“If the committee wanted to extend a formal invitation I would consider it, but we would reflect very carefully on my obligations to preserve the separation of powers and the constitutional framework that I served in,” he said at the time.
The Jan. 6 committee swiftly responded to Pence’s comments.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chair, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), its vice chair, issued a joint statement criticizing Pence’s comments as “not accurate.”
“The Select Committee has proceeded respectfully and responsibly in our engagement with Vice President Pence, so it is disappointing that he is misrepresenting the nature of our investigation while giving interviews to promote his new book,” Thompson and Cheney said.
“Our investigation has publicly presented the testimony of more than 50 Republican witnesses, including senior members of the Trump White House, the Trump Campaign, and the Trump Justice Department,” the statement said.
The interview with CBS was part of the rounds that Pence made recently to promote his newly-published book “So Help Me God,” a recollection of his experiences under the Trump administration.
During the talk show, in comments on his former boss’s third bid for the White House, Pence said, “I believe as we look to the future, we’ll have better choices.”
Pence has several times hinted at a presidential race.
“We’re giving it consideration in our house. Prayerful consideration,” he said in an extended interview for ABC’s “World News Tonight.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times