As we’ve known for exactly one year now, one of the people with considerable knowledge of Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the last presidential election is Mike Pence. Long a reliable Trump footstool, the V.P. was at the receiving end of weeks of pressure from the 45th president to block the certification of Joe Biden’s win, with Trump trying various tactics to convince Pence to do his bidding, from reportedly calling the evangelical Christian a “pussy” to threatening to end their friendship. Later, at the rally that preceded the insurrection, Trump told the “Stop the Steal” crowd, “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so,” and, “All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify and we become president and you are the happiest people,” and “Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a, a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,” and, “Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.” When it became clear that Pence wasn’t going to do anything but declare Biden the Electoral College victor, a violent mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, shouting, “hang Mike Pence,” forcing the V.P. and his family to take cover as the bloodthirsty horde “came perilously close to Vice President Pence.”
Perhaps not surprisingly given his longtime status as a Trump toady, Pence has been bizarrely understanding about the fact that his ex-boss incited a crowd who chanted for his death—which Trump later suggested Pence deserved—saying only that he doesn’t think he and the ex-president will ever see “eye to eye” about the events that transpired that day. So it appears there is almost no chance that the former V.P.—who presumably wants to stay not just on Trump’s good side but on the good side of Trump’s supporters—will be sharing what he knows about Trump’s actions before, during, and after the attempted coup with the House committee investigating the matter, despite the fact that he probably has lots of relevant information to share. But apparently people close to him have no such qualms!
Axios reports that “people in and around former Vice President Mike Pence’s office have been particularly cooperative as the January 6 select committee focuses on what former president Trump was doing during the more than three hours the Capitol was under attack,” according to sources familiar with the testimonies. While Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, was subpoenaed by the House panel, putting the pressure on him to talk, a source familiar with the matter told Axios that Short “would not have cooperated without the approval of Pence.”
Other Penceworld individuals who have been happy to help reportedly include former Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah—who went on to serve as White House communications director—and Keith Kellogg, the V.P.’s former national security adviser. Farah, who spoke with the committee several times in 2021, seemed surprised to find out “how much information [the committee] already had,” telling Axios that while those refusing to cooperate “likely are doing so out of complete fealty to Donald Trump and not wanting to piss him off,” it’s clear investigators already have their numbers. “They’re realizing the committee has quite a bit more information than they realized. And their involvement is known to a much greater degree than they realized,” she said.
Elsewhere, Axios reports that “some of the most helpful information has come from second- and third-tier administration staff who were not directly involved but were at the White House on January 6 and had access to top administration officials;” those people have been “integral to helping piece together exactly what happened that day,” according to one committee aide.
As ProPublica reported this past fall, text messages sent by Kimberly Guilfoyle represented ”the strongest indication yet that members of the Trump family circle were directly involved in the financing and organization of the rally.” As for the matter of “falsities about the integrity of the election results,” one need only look at Trump’s comments basically every day from the election onward, including, for instance, the absolutely crackpot theory reportedly pushed by his aides that Italian satellites had changed Trump ballots to Biden ones. Among many, many other things.
As for Short’s cooperation, here’s what Elie Honig, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, had to say when it emerged last month that he was talking to the January 6 committee:
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