The head of the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot indicated Friday that the panel will ask former Vice President Mike Pence this month to voluntarily meet with lawmakers.
“I think you could expect that before the month’s out,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told NPR in an interview. “Our committee really needs to hear what are his opinions about what happened on Jan. 6.”
A committee aide later told NBC News that Thompson’s remarks “indicate that the Select Committee is contemplating issuing an invitation to the former Vice President some time this month.”
Pence has walked a tightrope on the fallout from the Capitol riot. He has given a nod to former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud by saying there were “irregularities” in the 2020 election, while also saying he and Trump never see “eye to eye” on the matter.
Testimony from Pence could offer valuable information to the Jan. 6 committee, particularly on conversations within the Trump White House leading up to the attack on the Capitol, where Pence’s life was considered in danger as many in the pro-Trump mob shouted “hang Mike Pence.” Trump has called Pence a “good man,” but also said that his vice president made a “big mistake” in refusing to disrupt Congress’ official count of electoral votes from the 2020 election.
The Jan. 6 committee has said that after the November election, White House advisers coordinated with Trump and Rudy Giuliani to discuss strategies to overturn the results and pressure Pence not to certify the Electoral College count in Congress.
Several Pence aides, including his former chief of staff Marc Short, have been cooperating with the House committee.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of only two Republicans on the nine-member panel, told MSNBC on Friday that Pence’s former aides have been “more than helpful.”
But he added that might not be the case with Pence, who has been largely silent on the committee’s investigation.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t want to in some way cooperate,” Kinzinger said. “I don’t know if that means — hopefully not a subpoena but maybe written answers to questions or a voluntary interview. We would love to hear from him.
Dartunorro Clark covers politics, including the Covid-19 recovery, for NBC News.