“Particularly cooperative”: Mike Pence’s team is reportedly helping Jan. 6 committee build its case

Former veep's team reportedly spilling the beans about Jan. 6. Now the panel wants to interview Pence himself

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published January 6, 2022 12:11PM (EST)

Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Mike Pence's team has been "particularly cooperative" with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to Axios.

Some former Pence aides have testified without a subpoena, according to the report. Former Pence chief of staff Marc Short, former press secretary Alyssa Farah and former adviser Keith Kellogg are among those who have cooperated with the panel or have given depositions. A source told Axios that Short, who was banned from the White House by former President Donald Trump after Pence refused to block the certification of electoral votes one year ago today, would not have cooperated with the committee without Pence's approval.

Some of the "most helpful" information, however, has come from lower-ranking aides who were not directly involved with the events of Jan. 6 but were at the White House on that day and had access to senior officials, according to the report. Many of those aides met privately with Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the vice-chair of the committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., rather than the entire panel.

RELATED: Jan. 6 committee to investigate Trump's calls to allies at Willard Hotel before Capitol riot

Farah, who also served as White House communications director during the period leading up to and immediately following Trump's election loss, told Axios that the committee has already pieced together a lot of details of Trump's actions during the riot.

"From the two [interviews] I was in, you could see how much information they already had," she said. "Those who are refusing to cooperate likely are doing so out of complete fealty to Donald Trump and not wanting to piss him off. But, secondarily, because they're realizing the committee has quite a bit more information than they realized. And their involvement is known to a much greater degree than they realized."

The committee is looking at Trump's actions during a three-hour period when his aides and allies pleaded for him to intervene and call on his supporters to stop the violence. The committee has released texts from Trump's allies, including numerous Fox News hosts, urging him to quell the riot. Cheney said last week that the committee has "firsthand testimony" that Ivanka Trump twice told Trump to "stop the violence." The panel is also probing the administration's efforts to undermine the results of the election. The committee last year released a PowerPoint presentation detailing the Trump administration's internal plans to block or reverse Joe Biden's victory. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., called the document "an alarming blueprint for overturning a nationwide election."

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Kinzinger said that the committee "would love" to interview Trump, who has sued to try to block the committee's subpoena for White House documents, but that his testimony is not necessary because of the amount of information the panel already has.

"We can put the pieces together without him," Kinzinger told NBCLX on Wednesday. "Know that every new thing [the public] learns, we probably know three or four times that information that we haven't released yet."

But the committee's leaders expressed hope this week that Pence himself will voluntarily cooperate with their investigation.

Thompson told CNN on Tuesday that he hopes Pence "would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee."

"We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we'd gladly accept. Everything is under consideration," Thompson said, adding that the committee is particularly interested in knowing "what [Pence's] security detail told him was going on" before and during the riot.

Cheney told NBC News that she views Pence as a "hero" for his actions a year ago.

"Former Vice President Pence was a hero on Jan. 6. He refused the pressure of the former president. He did his duty, and the nation should be very grateful for the actions that he took that day," she said. "We look forward to continuing the cooperation that we've had with members of the former vice president's team, and I look forward as well to his cooperation."

Cheney said the committee is considering whether to recommend criminal charges against Trump to the Justice Department.

"Certainly we will be looking at that. There are important questions in front of the committee, such as whether the action or inaction of former President Trump attempted to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress, attempted to delay the count of electoral votes," she said. "We also know that it was a supreme dereliction of duty. The president of the U.S. refuses to take action to stop a violent assault on the Congress, to stop a violent assault on any of the coequal branches of government, that's clearly a dereliction of duty."

Read more on the grim one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection:

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregation Capitol Riot Donald Trump Jan. 6 Liz Cheney Mike Pence Politics