Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), who serve on the Jan. 6 Select Committee, on Sunday said that the panel has been in discussions with former Vice President Mike Pence’s counsel about his potential testimony. Last week, Pence said he would consider testifying before the committee if he was invited to do so.
During a “Politics and Eggs” event in New Hampshire last week, Pence signaled that he has not ruled out the possibility of testifying before the committee investigating the events surrounding Jan. 6.
“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said. “I would have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving as vice president. It would be unprecedented in history for the vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill. But, as I said, I don’t want to prejudge ever any formal invitation rendered to us.”
During an interview on ABC News on Sunday, Cheney was asked whether the committee plans to ask Pence for his testimony after he indicated that he is willing to consider it.
Cheney replied that the panel has been “in discussions” with the former vice president’s counsel and that she hopes he will testify in the near future.
“When the country has been through something as grave as this was, everyone who has information has an obligation to step forward,” Cheney said. “So I would hope that he will do that.”
Asked whether she thinks Pence could possibly make an appearance when the committee’s public hearings resume next month, Cheney said she “hopes” Pence understands how crucial his testimony would be to help the public learn about the events surrounding Jan. 6.
Pressed on whether the committee will ask former President Trump to testify, Cheney declined to weigh in.
“I don’t want to get in front of committee deliberations about that,” Cheney said. “I do think it’s very important, as I said in the first hearing or the second hearing, you know, his interactions with our committee will be under oath.”
Schiff issued similar remarks during an interview on CNN, saying he was “encouraged” to hear that Pence would consider testifying before the committee if an invitation was extended.
“I hope it meant what it sounded like it meant,” Schiff said.
Schiff noted that the panel has been in discussion with Pence’s counsel “for some time.”
“So he knows of our interest in having him come before us,” Schiff said. “And I am confident that, if he is truly willing, that there is a way to work out any executive privilege or separation of powers issues.”
Schiff added that there shouldn’t be any issues that would preclude the former vice president from choosing to testify before the congressional panel.
“I would hope, given the severity of the issues we’re addressing here, an attack on our Capitol, an attack on our very democracy, that he would be willing to come in,” Schiff said.
Schiff pointed to Pence becoming a target of Trump supporters, including the former president’s allies in Congress, for refusing to cave to Trump’s demands to subvert the 2020 election results on the day of the joint session of Congress certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Some people who were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were overheard chanting, “hang Mike Pence.”
“He could plainly share a lot of very firsthand information about what it was like to be the subject of those efforts to get him to violate his constitutional duty and arrogate to himself the power to decide who won or who lost an American presidential election,” Schiff said.
In recent months, the Jan. 6 Select Committee has held public hearings outlining its argument that the Capitol insurrection was a multi-step, concerted effort by Trump and his allies to overturn the election results. A public hearing held by the committee in June examined the then-President and his allies’ unsuccessful push to pressure Pence into tossing out Biden’s electoral victory as he presided over the joint session of Congress.
Greg Jacob, Pence’s former chief counsel, and Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge and Pence’s informal advisor, testified before the panel during the committee’s public hearing in June. Both former Pence aides detailed the former vice president’s repeated resistance to Trump’s pressure campaign to reject the election results. They also claimed during their testimony that they had warned Trump and his team repeatedly that the election steal scheme was unconstitutional.
“I would have laid my body across the road before I would have let the vice president overturn the 2020 election on the basis of that historical precedent,” Luttig said during his public testimony.
The committee also aired closed-door testimony of Marc Short, former Pence chief of staff, during the public hearing in June. Short testified that Pence told Trump “many times” that he lacked the authority to overturn the election results. Short also claimed that in the days leading up to Jan. 6, then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told him that he agreed that Pence did not have the authority to subvert the election results. Short, however, noted that Meadows may have said otherwise to Trump or his associates.