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The House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, on Wednesday pushed back on former Vice President Mike Pence’s recent comments that Congress has “no right” to his testimony and that he was “closing the door” on it.
“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,” said Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, who serve as the panel’s chair and vice chair, in a joint statement.
“The Select Committee has consistently praised the former Vice President’s refusal to bow to former President (Donald) Trump’s pressure to illegally refuse to count electoral votes on January 6th. But his recent statements about the Select Committee are not accurate,” they added.
Pence had put an end to the question of whether he would agree to speak with the committee before it wraps its investigation, telling CBS News, “I am closing the door on that, but I must say again, the partisan nature of the January 6 committee has been a disappointment to me.”
And the former vice president doubled down on those comments Wednesday evening, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper during a televised town hall that “Congress doesn’t report to the White House. The White House doesn’t report to the Congress.”
“And I truly do believe in defense of the separation of powers and to avoid what would be a terrible precedent – the very notion of a committee on Congress, in Congress, summoning a vice president to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House, I think, would violate that separation of powers,” he said.
“And I think it would erode the dynamic of the office of president and vice president for many years to come.”
Pence added that despite “the partisan nature” of the committee troubling him, he never stood in the way of his senior staff cooperating and testifying before the panel.
CNN previously reported that Pence’s legal counsel had been in communication with the committee about whether he would testify. Over the summer, the panel dedicated one of its public hearings to the pressure campaign Pence faced in the lead up to US Capitol attack, which included testimony from some of his top aides.
“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,” Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said in their statement.
“This testimony, subject to criminal penalties for lying to Congress, was not ‘partisan.’ It was truthful.”
This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.