Mike Pence won’t defend secret paperwork fees towards Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he could not defend criminal charges against Donald Trump, his former boss and current campaign rival, in a federal indictment against the ex-president for improper handling of confidential documents.

Pence nonetheless reiterated the idea of ​​a “two-tier” justice system that Trump and his allies have been pushing to undermine prosecutors prosecuting the unprecedented case against the former president.

“This indictment contains serious allegations and I cannot defend the allegations,” Pence said on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Trump on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to 37 counts related to his alleged misuse of classified documents, hundreds of which were kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort, after he left the White House in 2021. Trump has been accused of willfully withholding national defense information. Conspiracy to obstruct justice, conceal documents and make false statements.

Pence’s comments on CNBC come a week after he entered the 2024 Republican primary, where polls show Trump retains a comfortable lead despite his mounting legal woes. Pence fell out with Trump after the latter refused to support the former president’s efforts to make up for his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden. The decision has hurt Pence’s standing in the Republican Party, which is largely loyal to Trump, even as he continues to falsely insist the 2020 race against him was rigged.

In his campaign opening speech, Pence criticized Trump, at times severely, but still tried to represent the agenda they had adopted together in the White House. His comments on Trump’s latest criminal indictment attempted to walk a similarly fine line.

“Handling classified materials is a very serious matter,” Pence said, but “the former president has a right to his day in court.”

“I can’t believe politics didn’t play a role here,” Pence added. “If I have the privilege of being President of the United States, we will come clean at the Justice Department. We will find men and women who are universally respected by both political parties, and we will restore public trust and equal treatment before the law.”

Pence reiterated his call for new leadership and backed his thoughts on Trump’s impeachment with campaign rhetoric.

“Two things can be true at the same time,” he said, explaining that while he would not defend the “serious” allegations against Trump, it “doesn’t change the fact that tens of millions of Americans feel they have a two-tier system.” justice.

Citing the investigation into Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election, he claimed that former FBI Director James Comey condoned “very similar behavior” by the then-Democratic nominee. Pence also cited former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and the alleged suppression of information about Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

Legal experts have argued that Trump’s case, which involves alleged violations of the Espionage Act and an alleged conspiracy to obstruct government, differs significantly from other cases in which politicians have held on to files after leaving office.

Trump’s federal indictment has drawn mixed reactions from his Republican primary rivals.

Pence’s stance stands in sharp contrast to comments made Wednesday morning by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was also a former federal prosecutor. Christie is a vocal Trump critic who said the GOP leader’s post-indictment speech in New Jersey shows he “doesn’t care about the American people.”

“Donald Trump’s next term as president is all about personal vengeance,” Christie said on Fox News.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, has opted to say little about Trump’s criminal proceedings since his indictment.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a long-term candidate for the GOP nomination, has already vowed to pardon Trump if elected. He appeared outside the Miami courthouse on Tuesday to urge the rest of the primaries to make a similar pledge.

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has voiced numerous reactions to the indictment, said Tuesday that she “supported a pardon” from Trump if she became president.

Comments are closed.