Former VP Mike Pence says he would 'consider' testifying before Jan. 6 committee if asked

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Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he would consider testifying before the House Jan. 6 committee if asked, in some of his most direct and extensive remarks on the subject.

"If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it," Pence said in remarks at a New Hampshire event, put on by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College.

The former vice president expressed constitutional concerns about testifying before the committee, noting that it would be "unprecedented in history" for a vice president to be called to testify before Congress.

"Any invitation directed at me, I’d have to reflect on the unique role I was serving in as vice president," Pence said.

It wouldn't be the first time a president or vice president had testified before a congressional committee. At least six presidents and one vice president – Schuyler Colfax, vice president to President Ulysses S. Grant – testified before congressional committees, according to the U.S. Senate's website.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at "Politics & Eggs" at the New Hampshire Institute Politics at St. Anselm College on Wednesday in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at "Politics & Eggs" at the New Hampshire Institute Politics at St. Anselm College on Wednesday in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The former vice president's role on Jan. 6, 2021, when the Capitol was under siege by supporters of former President Donald Trump hoping to halt the certification of President Joe Biden's win, has become central to the Jan. 6 committee's investigation of the day's events.

The committee presented evidence that Trump initiated a pressure campaign against Pence, hoping to convince him to help overturn the 2020 election by rejecting states' official electors. Pence did not give in, certifying Biden's win.

Though the Jan. 6 committee has discussed having Pence testify, it might not be necessary thanks to cooperation from his top advisors, the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in June. Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and counsel, Greg Jacob, were among more than 1,000 witnesses who met with the committee.

That’s not to say Pence won’t still be asked to testify.

"I personally want to talk to Mike Pence,” Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the committee's two Republicans, said during a July interview on CBS News' "Face the Nation." “I think it would be important to hear everything he has to say."

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At the New Hampshire event Wednesday, Pence reiterated his concern over the search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and again urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to give a “full accounting” of the reasons behind the search, asserting that while Garland had “begun to do so, not nearly enough information has been provided.”

“This unprecedented action does demand unprecedented transparency,” Pence said.

The former vice president also called for an end to threats against the FBI that have since followed, which garnered applause from the crowd.

“Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the FBI must stop,” Pence said. “Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”

After the Aug. 8 Mar-a-Lago search, Pence issued a tweet expressing his "concern" over the incident and suggesting that some FBI agents "were found to be acting on political motivation" during the Trump administration.

The New Hampshire event, called "Politics & Eggs," describes itself as a "'must-stop' on the presidential campaign trail." Pence, who visited Iowa in April under the shadow of his high profile break from the former president, is flirting with a 2024 presidential run, the Des Moines Register reported.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mike Pence said he would 'consider' testifying to Jan. 6 committee