Former Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that he hopes the Justice Department balks at charging former President Donald Trump with crimes related to last year’s riot at the Capitol Building.
The former vice president’s comments came hours before the House elect committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot formally voted to refer four criminal charges against Trump, 76, related to Jan. 6 to the Justice Department.
“I hope the Justice Department understands the magnitude, the very idea of indicting a former president of the United States,” Pence said on Fox News.
“I think that would be terribly divisive in the country at a time when the American people want to see us heal. At this time of year, we’re all thinking about the most important things in our lives, our faith, our family, and my hope is the Justice Department will think very carefully with how they proceed in that regard.”
Pence, who was at the Capitol Building with his daughter on Jan. 6, added that Trump’s actions that day were “reckless” but that he is only guilty of taking “bad advice from lawyers.”
“But when it comes to the Justice Department’s decision about bringing charges in the future, I would hope that they would not bring charges against the former president … As I wrote in my book, I think the president’s actions and words on January 6th were reckless. But I don’t know that it is criminal to take bad advice from lawyers. And so I hope the Justice Department is careful,” Pence said.
The former vice president also railed against select committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who said on Sunday that he believes the “evidence is there” for the DOJ to charge Trump.
“How many times did Adam Schiff say that there was evidence of collusion with Russia? Two and a half years we listened to Adam Schiff talk about evidence that he had seen that was never there,” Pence told Fox News hosts Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer, adding that he believes the committee has a “partisan taint” that has turned Americans off from the hearings.
The bipartisan panel recommended Monday that the DOJ charge Trump with inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to make false statements to investigators, and conspiracy to defraud the US government.