Former Vice President Mike Pence said he is not yet convinced that former President Donald Trump committed any criminal acts while he was in office in the wake of a Jan. 6, 2021, grand jury investigation into the events at the Capitol.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Pence said Trump’s actions leading up to the protest “were reckless” but he believes that the final judgment should be left to the American people in the upcoming primaries.
“I have said many times that the president’s words were reckless that day. I had no right to overturn the election… But while his words were reckless, I, based on what I know, I’m not yet convinced that they were criminal,” Pence said.
The grand jury investigation comes a month after Trump received a letter from Special Counsel Jack Smith stating that he is the target of a Jan. 6 investigation.
Trump responded to the news last week with a statement on Truth Social, in which he accused his opponent, President Joe Biden and his Department of Injustice of having effectively issued a “third indictment and arrest of Joe Biden’s NUMBER ONE POLITICAL OPPONENT.”
Trump also pleaded not guilty to two charges this year— one in March related to hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election and another in June related to alleged willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy.
Despite the allegations against his former boss, Pence said he believes he handled Jan. 6 well.
“I know I did my duty that day,” he said on CNN.
He added that the rising sense of unequal treatment of the law across the nation worries him and he hopes it “does not come to” a third indictment against Trump.
“I would rather that these issues and the judgment about his conduct on Jan. 6 be left to the American people in the upcoming primaries, and I’ll leave it at that,” Pence said.
In a separate statement, Trump accused his political opponents of pursuing an endeavor to “subvert our election system and destroy the rule of law” and said he believes a “vindication on the facts will eventually come.”
“It continues with the farcical effort to frame me,” he said, “even though I did nothing wrong.”
According to the former president, the intention of the Jan. 6 protesters was to “temporarily occupy the seating area,” asserting that these actions were “clearly and unambiguously” allowed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Time will tell if Trump is indeed indicted for what happened on Jan. 6. Until then, Pence is leaving the judgment to the American people.