During his CNN town hall on Wednesday, former Vice President Mike Pence argued that Donald Trump shouldn’t be indicted even if the Department of Justice finds that he committed a crime. The reason? Because America is “the symbol of justice.”
And when called out for the contradiction between this view and Pence’s earlier claim that he is committed to the rule of law, Pence was reduced to stammering through a non-response.
And no, we’re not kidding. Watch the clip here:
The topic at hand was the news that earlier this week, Trump’s lawyers met with DOJ officials, including special counsel Jack Smith, as part of the ongoing investigation in the classified documents Trump took from the White House after he left office. As more evidence becomes public, there is the increasing appearance that Trump was aware he was not allowed to take these documents, and recent reports suggest steps might have been taken to mislead and evade officials attempting to recover the documents.
Due to that meeting between Trump’s lawyers and the DoJ, there has of course been speculation that Trump may in fact be facing a federal indictment related to the matter. And on CNN, town hall moderator Dana Bash asked him how he feels about the possibility, leading to this response:
“I think it would also send a terrible message to the wider world. I mean, we’re, we’re the emblem of democracy, we’re the symbol of justice in the world, and the serious matter, which has already happened once in New York, of indicting a former President of the United States,” Pence said, referring to Trump’s felony indictment there, “sends a terrible message to the world. I hope the DoJ thinks better of it and resolves the issues without an indictment.”
This provoked a clearly incredulous Bash to note a glaring contradiction by Pence: “Sir, I just want to clarify, what you’re saying is that, if they believe he committed a crime, they should not go forward with an indictment? You just talked before about committing to the rule of law.”
“Let me be clear,” Pence replied, “No one is above the law.”
“Ok,” Bash said.
“But with regard to,” Pence said after a brief pause, “the unique circumstances here.”
Pence then took a deep breath.
“It. Look. Uh, I,” Pence continued, letting out a heavy breath.
“Uh, those classified, uh, I had no business having classified documents in my residence. And I took full responsibility for. President Biden had no business having them in his residence from when he was Vice President as well,” Pence said, omitting the fact that Biden “took full responsibility” in the same way he did.
“And the same with former President Trump. But I, I would just hope,” Pence said, letting out a breath, “that, there, there would be a way, for them to move forward without the dramatic and drastic divisive step of indicting a former president of the United States. We’ve got to find a way to move our country forward, and, and restore confidence in equal treatment under the law in this country. We really do.”
Well OK then.