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Pence Calls on Republicans to Stop Assailing the F.B.I. After Mar-a-Lago Search


WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday called on Republicans to stop attacking the nation’s top law enforcement agencies over the F.B.I.’s search of Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., home.

Congressional Republicans, including members of leadership, have reacted with fury to the Aug. 8 search, which is a component of an investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of classified material. Some lawmakers have called to “defund” or “destroy” the F.B.I., whilst more moderate voices have chastised their colleagues for his or her rhetoric.

Speaking at a political event in Recent Hampshire, Mr. Pence said that Republicans could hold the Justice Department and the F.B.I. accountable for his or her decisions “without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel.”

“Our party stands with the boys and ladies who stand on the skinny blue line on the federal and state and native level, and these attacks on the F.B.I. must stop,” Mr. Pence went on. “Calls to defund the F.B.I. are only as mistaken as calls to defund the police.”

The remarks by Mr. Pence, who appears to be positioning himself to run for president, highlight his readiness to separate himself from the wing of the Republican Party most loyal to Mr. Trump. In addition they illustrate the political dangers in criticizing a law enforcement agency, particularly for a celebration that purportedly bills itself as defenders of law and order.

The calls for a more cautious tone got here as threats emerged against law enforcement. A gunman attacked an F.B.I. office in Cincinnati last week, and the Department of Homeland Security distributed an intelligence bulletin to law enforcement across the country that warned of “a rise in threats and acts of violence” after the Mar-a-Lago search.

Mr. Pence also said on Wednesday that he would consider talking to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — the clearest indication up to now that he is likely to be willing to take part in the panel’s ongoing efforts. The panel is ready to resume public hearings on its findings next month.

Mr. Pence has rarely spoken publicly about how he would reply to a request from the committee to be interviewed, but his lawyers began talking with the panel as early as last summer, indicating that they were unsure of what Mr. Pence might do.

“If there was an invite to participate, I might consider it,” Mr. Pence said. But adding a note of caution, Mr. Pence went on to say it will be “unprecedented in history” for a vp “to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill.”

In recent weeks, the panel has been discussing what to do about a few of the more high-profile potential witnesses, like Mr. Pence or Mr. Trump himself, and lawmakers haven’t reached a conclusion about methods to proceed with either man.

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The panel had initially believed that each men would fight attempts to get them to testify, and a few lawmakers anxious that a public battle over getting them under oath would distract from the work of gathering facts in regards to the Jan. 6 attack and the events leading as much as it.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee chairman, has previously said that the committee ruled out a subpoena for Mr. Pence, citing the “significant information” it had received from two of his aides, Marc Short and Greg Jacob, each of whom sat for depositions. Mr. Jacob also testified live during one in all the panel’s hearings in June, calling a plan by the lawyer John Eastman to have Mr. Pence single-handedly throw the election to Mr. Trump during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, “certifiably crazy.”

Beyond talking to the House committee, Mr. Short and Mr. Jacob have each appeared before a federal grand jury in Washington that’s hearing testimony within the Justice Department’s parallel inquiry into Jan. 6. The lads were present within the Oval Office for a gathering on Jan. 4, 2021, at which Mr. Trump had Mr. Eastman try to influence Mr. Pence that he could delay or block congressional certification of Mr. Trump’s Electoral College defeat.

While it stays unclear whether Mr. Pence will speak to the committee, if he does he could presumably give the panel a fuller picture of the trouble by Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman to strong-arm him into disrupting the standard democratic process.

A spokesman for the panel declined to comment Wednesday on Mr. Pence’s latest statements.

One other potentially high-profile witness, Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a supporter of Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in power after the 2020 election, remains to be on the committee’s list of witnesses to call, regardless that she has rebuffed attempts to interview her.

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