Mike Pence is angry and defiant. Can’t you tell? His customary blanched-potato pout has abruptly given way to a sinister shade of ecru—and following an exhaustive review in close consultation with Mother, he’s tentatively decided to put his hackles on yellow alert, reserving the option to raise them at a suitable time and place in the future.
More importantly, now that the GOP has taken control of the lower chamber, Pence has decided that the House Jan. 6 committee is too “partisan” to cooperate with. Which is true, in a way. After all, we didn’t hear word one from the pro-hang-Mike Pence camp. Shameful.
While promoting his new book, So Help Me God, I Have No Idea Who’s Gonna Buy This Thing, Pence told CBS News that he’ll never testify for the Jan. 6 committee because they have “no right” to his testimony.
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As NBC News explains:
In a CBS News interview that aired Wednesday evening, Pence claimed when asked if he would sit for questioning that Congress has “no right” to his testimony, adding, "I’m closing the door on that."
In his answer, the former vice president criticized the makeup of the committee, which has two Republican lawmakers, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
“I served for 12 years in the Congress,” he said. “It’s inconceivable to me that one party would appoint every member of a committee in Congress. That’s antithetical to the whole idea of the committee system. That being said, I never stood in the way of senior members of my team cooperating with the committee and testifying, but Congress has no right to my testimony."
Pence wasn’t done complaining about the supposedly “partisan” makeup of the committee.
“But I must say again, the partisan nature of the January 6 committee has been a disappointment to me,” the former veep groused. “It seemed to me in the beginning, there was an opportunity to examine every aspect of what happened on Jan. 6, and to do so more in the spirit of the 9/11 Commission, nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and that was an opportunity lost.”
Seems the same guy who somehow blocked out those raucous “hang Mike Pence” chants conveniently forgot how we got here. In May 2021, every House Democrat and 35 House Republicans voted to establish a bipartisan 9/11-style Jan. 6 commission but—oh, lookee here!—Senate Republicans killed it.
So House Democrats had to form a select committee. Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to submit a list of names for that committee, but when Pelosi rejected two of those picks—Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, two extremely Trumpy election deniers who likely should have been material witnesses instead of inquisitors—McCarthy took his ball and went home.
So yes, Mike, it was an opportunity lost. Because Republicans decided to take that opportunity, shove it down a well, and scream “it places the lotion in the basket” until everyone just forgot the whole thing.
Fellow Republican Liz Cheney, who’s somehow never succumbed to Donald Trump’s oleaginous charms (and lost her House primary as a result), isn’t having it. In response to Pence’s comments, Cheney, the committee vice chair, released a statement Thursday with committee Chair Bennie Thompson, to remind him of how that “opportunity” was actually lost (and insert a mild mocking of his book tour).
It read, in part:
“The Select Committee has proceeded respectfully and responsibly in our engagement with Vice President Pence, so it is disappointing that he is misrepresenting the nature of our investigation while giving interviews to promote his new book.
“Our investigation has publicly presented the testimony of more than 50 Republican witnesses, including senior members of the Trump White House, the Trump Campaign, and the Trump Justice Department. This testimony, subject to criminal penalties for lying to Congress, was not ‘partisan.’ It was truthful.
“Every member of the Select Committee supported the creation of an independent bipartisan commission. After initially supporting such a commission, Leader McCarthy withdrew his support and the bipartisan plan to create the commission was defeated by Republicans in the Senate. The Select Committee was formed only after the proposal for an outside commission was defeated.
“Leader McCarthy had the opportunity to nominate five members of the Select Committee. Speaker Pelosi initially accepted three of those nominees and invited Leader McCarthy to propose two others. Rather than doing so, McCarthy chose to withdraw all his nominees and refused to participate at all—so that he could make the false claim that the Committee was entirely one-sided. This was a cynical choice by Mr. McCarthy.
“The Select Committee has consistently praised the former Vice President’s refusal to bow to former President Trump’s pressure to illegally refuse to count electoral votes on January 6th. But his recent statements about the Select Committee are not accurate.”
Pence knows this, even if he wants Americans to forget. Yet judging by the results of the Nov. 8 midterms, Americans haven’t memory-holed Jan. 6 just yet, despite Pence having used his vast stores of simpering twit energy to keep the wolves at bay.
RELATED: What happened and when: A timeline of the Jan. 6 insurrection
But why should Pence stop covering for Trump and his coterie of crooks now? He’s got loads of practice. In fact, it might be the only real skill he has left.
Sen. Raphael Warnock is still defending his Georgia seat, and the Dec. 6 runoff is coming fast. If you can—and if you aren’t too tired from saving America on Nov. 8—please rush a donation to Team Warnock now! You can also write letters to Georgia voters with Vote Forward! Let’s finish up strong!
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