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Former President Mike Pence pushed back on efforts during an interview this week to get him to commit to pardoning former President Donald Trump if the former president ends up getting convicted in the federal criminal case.
Pence made the remarks during an interview on the “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” on Wednesday when asked about Trump being indicted on 37 felony counts for his alleged retention of national defense information, his alleged attempts to obstruct the investigation, and for allegedly lying to prosecutors in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation.
Co-host Clay Travis pressed Pence to commit to pardoning Trump, declaring that the charges were political in nature. Former Trump Attorney General William Barr, who has defended Trump against other instances of political persecution, has strongly pushed back on claims that Trump is the victim in this case.
“Well, first off, these are serious charges,” Pence said. “And as I said, I can’t defend what’s been alleged, but the president does deserve to make his defense. And I would say to each one of you, look, I’ve been a former governor. I’ve actually granted pardons to people and I take the pardon authority very seriously. It’s an enormously important power of someone in an executive position. And I just think it’s premature to have any conversation about that right now.”
Travis claimed that Pence’s decision to let the legal process play out before making a decision was “not stepping up on the front of leadership.”
“I don’t think you know what the president’s defense is, do you?” Pence fired back. “I mean, what are the facts? I mean, look, we either believe in our judicial process in this country or we don’t. We either stand by the rule of law or we don’t.”
Travis appeared to take things personally, claiming that Pence was being “pretty disrespectful” over the issue.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 14, 2023
Pence told Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro on Wednesday that Trump being arrested in Miami this week “was a sad day in the life of this nation.”
“I mean, literally, to see a former President of the United States in the dock and face charges in a criminal indictment, I think is deeply discouraging to millions of Americans,” Pence said. “That being said, you know, no one’s above the law. And as Americans, we’re innocent until proven guilty and I had the opportunity to review the indictment over the weekend. And I will tell you, these are serious charges and I can’t defend what is alleged, but the president deserves his day in court.”
The former vice president told Shapiro that the case was taking place against the backdrop of “years of politicization in the Department of Justice” and that it was “hard to believe politics didn’t play a role” in the case. He said that, if elected president, he would clean house and restore confidence that there was equal treatment under the law at the DOJ.