Sunday, December 10

Pence pushes back against GOP calls to ‘defund the FBI’

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Former vice president Mike Pence pushed back Wednesday against those in his party who have called to “defund the FBI” after the bureau’s search of former president Donald Trump’s residence in Florida last week.

Pence, appearing at a Politics & Eggs breakfast in New Hampshire, said he was “deeply troubled” that a search warrant had been issued and called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to release more information about its justification. The Justice Department filed a motion to unseal the search warrant, which was released last Friday.

But Pence said the attacks on the FBI are unwarranted.

“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision that he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” Pence said, asserting that “the Republican Party is the party of law and order.”

“These attacks on the FBI must stop,” Pence said to applause. “Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”

Shortly after Pence’s remarks, Trump posted an American Spectator piece on Social Truth, his social media network, that carried the headline, “The Fascist Bureau of Investigation.” The piece by Jeffrey Lord argued that “an eleven-honorable organization” had been corrupted. “The FBI has become the Fascist Bureau of Investigation, a government agency weaponized against American citizens it doesn’t like,” Lord wrote.

The court-authorized search produced multiple classified documents that Trump had taken from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Fla. Since the search, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) have led the call to “defund the FBI,” with Greene pushing T-shirts with the phrase.

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Last Thursday, an armed man wearing body armor tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office, sparking an hours-long standoff that ended when he was fatally shot after firing at officers, authorities said.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by all Senate Republicans in 2017, said in a Friday statement that attacks on the FBI “are a serious disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others.”

“Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans,” he said.

Speaking in Manchester, NH, on Aug. 17, former vice president Mike Pence said he would “consider” testifying in the House select committee’s investigation. (Video: Reuters)

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During a question-and-answer session, Pence was asked whether he would testify before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said. “But you’ve heard me mention the Constitution a few times this morning. Under the Constitution, we have three equal branches of government. Any invitation that would be directed at me, I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving then as vice president.”

Pence said that it would be “unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill.”

“But I don’t want to prejudge,” he said. “So if there were ever any formal invitation to us, it would get due consideration.”

In July, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told the Wall Street Journal that the committee was considering asking Trump to testify and may request a written interview with Pence or issue a subpoena for him to testify.

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The committee declined to comment Wednesday.

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