House Jan. 6 panel will ask Mike Pence to appear this month, chair says

Former Vice President Mike Pence will be asked this month to voluntarily appear before the House select committee investigating last year’s riot at the US Capitol.

​​Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Democratic-led panel, said the committee would formally invite Pence to testify about the Jan. 6 siege.

“I think you could expect that before the month’s out,” Thompson told NPR in an interview on Friday.

The Mississippi Democrat first floated the idea of asking Pence to speak to the committee this week, telling CNN he hoped the former veep “would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee.”

Thompson told The Hill on Thursday that he had not heard from Pence since.

The committee is investigating former President Donald Trump’s role in the riot, and Thompson described Pence’s appearance as critical.

“The vice president was put in a tough spot,” Thompson told NPR. “The president was putting a lot of pressure on him to break the law, and he stood fast.”

In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, violent rioters supporting President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington.
Thursday marked a year since the deadly riots at the US Capitol.
AP / John Minchillo

“And because of his respect for law, there were people who came to the Capitol a year ago wanting to hang him. And so, if for no other reason, our committee really needs to hear what are his opinions about what happened on Jan. 6.”

Trump had been calling on Pence to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election, as hundreds of his supporters violently breached the Capitol in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory.

Four people died during the riot, and a US Capitol police officer died the next day after suffering two strokes. More than 725 people have been arrested as federal authorities continue to search for additional suspects.

The House committee has already asked Fox News host Sean Hannity and Republican Reps. Scott Perry and Jim Jordan to volunteer to talk to them, but has not heard back.

Thompson said House investigators may also extend invitations to other members of Trump’s inner circle including his daughter, former senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump, who it was reported tried to get him to call off the riot.

Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses a gathering.
More than 50 people have been subpoenaed by the committee.
AP / Charles Krupa

“We have information that Ivanka did try to get the president to call off what was occurring at the Capitol. We don’t have all the information. That’s why we would love to have access to it,” Thompson told the outlet.

“Look, we are absolutely open to anyone coming voluntarily to the committee. If in fact we think somebody has information that as a committee we need, and getting a subpoena for that person’s participation is important, then we will do it.”

More than 50 people have been subpoenaed and hundreds others have been interviewed by the committee, as it seeks to pursue criminal charges against those responsible and issue “significant recommendations” for new laws, Thompson told The Hill.

“Because one of the dangers, as you know, is if the insurrectionists had been successful and gotten their hands on the ballots from the different states and destroyed [them],” Thompson reportedly said, “we would have had a constitutional crisis of no end.”

The committee has recommended contempt charges for former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and strategist Steve Bannon over their refusal to comply with subpoenas.