Former Vice President Mike Pence stuck by his former employer on Sunday, arguing a potential prosecution of Donald Trump would amount to a political hit job.
Pence appeared on ABC’s This Week, where he told host Jonathan Karl that a Trump indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would simply indulge the “radical left.” It follows similar language from Pence in recent weeks as he considers a 2024 presidential run.
“I’m taken aback at the idea of indicting a former president of the United States, at a time when there’s a crime wave in New York City,” Pence told Karl. “The fact that the Manhattan DA thinks that indicting President Trump is his top priority, I think… just tells you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country.”
Pence has not shied away from criticizing his former running mate in recent months, though he has consistently been less eager to urge his prosecution. He let out a snark “Here we go again” to reporters in Iowa on Saturday, calling an indictment (which Trump claimed would come Tuesday, despite no notice from the Manhattan DA) politically motivated.
“Another politically charged prosecution against the former president of the United States,” Pence said, according to the Des Moines Register. “I think many Americans are taken aback at the unprecedented indictment of a former president, but also the fact that the Manhattan D.A., in the midst of a crime wave in New York City, then says that indicting the former president is his highest priority.”
Pence’s comments followed what he told reporters in New Hampshire on Thursday, where he left the decision to drop out of the race following an indictment up to Trump.
“Look, it’s a free country,” he said, according to Politico. “Everybody can make their own decisions.”
Pence did seem more willing, however, to aid an investigation into Trump than he has in the past. Karl asked if Pence would consider speaking to special counsel Jack Smith on issues unrelated to Pence’s role as president of the Senate, a defense he has pledged to use in court to try and skirt speaking before the special counsel. Smith is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents after he left office.
Pence noted his narrow defense, though he would not confirm directly whether he would appear before Smith on other matters.
“I’ve directed my attorneys to make make a strong case in defense of my role as president of the Senate, presiding over a joint session of Congress on that day and in the preparation for that, and we’ll let the courts sorted out,” he said. “But I’ve actually never asserted that other matters unrelated to January 6 would otherwise be protected by speech and debate.”