Pence opposes GOP calls to ‘unburden the FBI’

Former Vice President Mike Pence pushed back on Wednesday against those in his party who had called for “unburdening the FBI” after the agency searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence last week.

Pence, who appeared 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 rescind the search warrant, which was released last Friday.

But Pence said the attacks on the FBI were unjustified.

“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans that we can hold the Attorney General accountable for the decision he made without attacking the basic law enforcement officers at the FBI,” Pence said, claiming that “the Republican Party is the party of law and order.”

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

Shortly after Pence’s comments, Trump posted an American Spectator piece on Truth Social, his social media network, with the headline “The Fascist Bureau of Investigation.” Jeffrey Lord’s piece argued that “a once honorable organization” had been corrupted. “The FBI has become the Fascist Bureau of Investigation, a government agency that is armed against American citizens who are not allowed to,” Lord wrote.

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

Last Thursday, an armed man wearing body armor attempted to breach the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati, leading to an hour-long standoff that ended when he was fatally shot after firing at agents, authorities said.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by all Senate Republicans in 2017, said in a statement Friday that attacks on the FBI “are doing 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 a serious burden to all Americans,” he said.

FBI searched Trump’s home for nuclear documents and other items, sources say

During a question-and-answer session, Pence was asked if he would testify before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.

“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said. “But you heard me talk about the Constitution a few times this morning. According to the Constitution, we have three equal branches of government. With any invitation addressed to me, I would have to reflect on the unique role I played as vice president at the time.”

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

“But I don’t want to get ahead,” he said. “So if there was ever a formal invitation to us, it would get the necessary attention.”

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

The committee declined to comment on Wednesday.

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