During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Saturday, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed his disapproval of fellow Republican presidential candidates engaging in discussions about pardoning Donald Trump. Pence stated that it was premature to engage in such debates as the outcome of any potential trial was uncertain.
According to The New York Post, Pence’s comments were as follows:
Former Vice President Mike Pence called out his 2024 GOP competitors for musing about pardoning his onetime boss Donald Trump — while again dodging questions on whether he’d issue one himself.
Pence labeled chatter about a pardon “premature.”
“I don’t know why some of my competitors in the Republican primary presume the [former] president will be found guilty,” Pence told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“We don’t know what his defense is. We don’t know if this will even go to trial. It could be subject to a motion to dismiss.”
A handful of his 2024 GOP competitors, such as former United Nations Ambassador and former South Carolina Governor as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), have indicated they are “inclined” to pardon Trump if he’s convicted in his federal classified documents case.
Multimillionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has urged his Republican rivals to commit to doing so.
Trump was formally arraigned on a 37-count indictment last week largely stemming from his alleged illegal retention of sensitive intelligence documents.
Trump has adamantly denied wrongdoing.
Pence himself was subject to DOJ scrutiny after classified documents from his vice presidency days were unearthed at his residence. He was later cleared in the matter.
“I think we need to let the courts do their job. And let this case work its way through our judicial system,” Pence added. “We would evaluate any request for pardon for any American.”
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Pence previously sidestepped questions on whether he would issue a pardon for Trump.
Still, the former veep spoke to concerns many Republicans have about the justice system, arguing that the Justice Department has lost the American people’s confidence and vowed to help restore it.
“The vast majority of Republicans have lost confidence in the Department of Justice. And if I’m elected president, I’ve said on day one we’re going to clean house,” Pence said in the interview — similar comments he’d made during a recent sit down with The Post.
Among those he’d fire is FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed to the role by Trump.
When pressed about why, Pence stressed that a majority of Americans no longer have confidence in the bureau.
“They’ve lost the confidence of the majority of the American people,” Pence shot back.
Pence also cited a litany of grievances with the FBI and the Justice Department writ large to justify his calls to “clean house.”
“We now know that the Russia collusion investigation should have never begun,” Pence said. “We’ve literally seen the Justice Department targeting parents going to school board meetings, we’ve seen the Justice Department targeting pro life activists … I’m still waiting for the rash of prosecutions of people involved in the BLM riots from the summer of 2020.”
Republicans in Congress have established a Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government to probe many of the issues Pence cited.
Last month, former Special Counsel John Durham released his report examining the federal investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. The report concluded that “neither U.S. law enforcement nor the intelligence community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of” the Russia collusion inquiry.
Pence pledged to appoint leaders to the DOJ and FBI that are “respected on both sides of the aisle” to help restore confidence.
“The American people would like to see evidence that we don’t have a two tiered system of justice,” Pence added. “It appears as though Democrats get one level of treatment and Republicans especially those of us, in the Trump-Pence administration, get another.”
The former vice president entered the 2024 contest earlier this month and is running in third place among the GOP field, per the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.