Tag: mike pence
Mike Pence

Special Counsel Attended Pence's Testimony Before January 6 Grand Jury

Special counsel Jack Smith was in the room when former Vice President Mike Pence testified before a federal grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election last week, CNN reported Wednesday.

Pence’s closed-door testimony marked a critical juncture in the Justice Department's long-running January 6 probe. It was also the first time in modern history that a vice president was compelled to testify against their ex-boss.

Pence testified for over five hours at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, offering prosecutors a crucial and clear insight into confidential discussions within the Oval Office in the lead-up to the January 6, 2021 insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

CNN stated that Pence and Smith had a “respectful” interaction at the courthouse and that the former vice president’s testimony was “likely to elicit a strong negative reaction from his former boss.”

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Pence and Smith in angry posts on his Truth Social platform and labeled the January 6 probe a political hit job engineered by his enemies to hamper his 2024 presidential ambitions.

Trump’s legal team expended significant effort in court to prevent Pence’s testimony, which Smith subpoenaed in February, by asserting executive privilege — a legal doctrine shielding the president and other executive branch officials from surrendering documents or information to Congress or the courts.

A top federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected that argument in late March and ordered Pence to answer questions concerning any illegal actions Trump took in a bid to retain power despite losing the election.

Pence’s legal team didn’t appeal the ruling, but Trump’s lawyers approached the appeals court to stay the federal judge’s decision. However, a three-judge panel of the court, one of who Trump appointed, rejected the effort.

Smith, appointed by the DOJ iast November, is also overseeing the federal probe into Trump’s illegal retention and potential mishandling of classified documents, boxes of which federal agents carted away from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence when it executed a search warrant there last August.

However, the January 6 and classified documents investigations are only two facets of Trump’s legal trouble. The former president is embroiled in a civil trial in Manhattan for allegedly raping advice columnist E Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s. Trump also faces 34 class E felonies in New York City, levied on him by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg in connection with alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Also in the cards for Trump is a Georgia district attorney Fani Willis’s investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state, as well as a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, accusing Trump and his three adult children of engaging in “years of financial fraud.”

Trump has since denied all allegations of wrongdoing and branded Pence “a pussy”; Carroll a “whack job” who’s “not my type”; Daniels, “horseface”; Bragg, “an animal”; Willis, who is Black, “racist”; and Smith, “a Trump Hating THUG.”

Mike Pence

In 'Historic' Grand Jury Appearance, Pence Testifies On Trump's Coup Attempt

Mike Pence, the former vice president, spent over seven hours testifying before Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Pence is now the highest-ranking Trump official to testify before the special counsel’s grand jury.

His testimony, which former Defense Department Special Counsel Ryan Goodman is describing as “historic,” comes just one day after a federal appeals court rejected Trump’s attempt to block his former vice president from testifying.

Calling it a “significant development in the special counsel’s probe,” NBC News reports Pence’s SUVs entered a Washington, D.C. federal courthouse at 9:00 AM and left at 4:30 PM. Politicocalls it “an extraordinary flashpoint in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probe.”

“Pence could provide critical insights on Trump’s thinking in the days leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The former vice president published a memoir and Wall Street Journal opinion article detailing several of his interactions with Trump, but some details were left vague. Special counsel Jack Smith’s team is particularly interested in Trump’s efforts to try to block the certification of the election, NBC News previously reported.”

The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt on MSNBC said Pence has been “trying to avoid this for six years, dating back to when he was a key witness in the Mueller investigation but his lawyer … was able to get him out of having to go in” to testify.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, before news broke that Pence had testified, on Thursday afternoon mused, “Pence’s insistence on protecting his role as President of the Senate from scrutiny when he answers questions before a grand jury forces consideration of what he wants to protect. Is it conversations with Senators about what they expected/wanted to happen on 1-6?”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

mike pence

Mike Pence And Anti-Abortion Groups Escalating Attacks On Trump

A leading anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA), has slammed former President Donald Trump for avoiding questions on abortion access and threatened to campaign against him if he doesn't commit to a national abortion ban of no more than 15 weeks into pregnancy.

The group issued its warning after the Trump campaign told The Washington Postthat Trump believes the Supreme Court — in its controversial ruling that reversed its longstanding position in Roe v Wade — was correct to leave abortion laws at the state level.

“President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the state level,” Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, told the Post.

SBA president Marjorie Dannenfelser called the statement a “morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate” in her scathing response, which mentioned Trump by name.

“President Trump’s assertion that the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion solely to the states is a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision and is a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold,” Dannenfelser said.

"Life is a matter of human rights, not states’ rights,” she added. “We will oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard.”

Responding to Dannenfelser, a Trump spokesperson told NBC News that the “focus here should be on saving lives and avoiding the Radical Left’s traps, not on dividing the pro-life community."

Prominent Republican pols, including Trump, have either softened or wholly abandoned strict positions on abortion after the Supreme Court’s decision to end 50 years of federal abortion rights sparked a rise in the already strong support for reproductive rights.

A PRRI poll conducted throughout 2022 found that most Americans (63 percent) opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, with 43 percent saying they “strongly opposed” the ruling.

In addition, nearly 70 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the country’s abortion laws, a Gallup poll released in February found. In contrast, only 15 percent believe abortion laws ought to be stricter.

According to the Post, Republicans — reeling from their underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterms, whose exit polls showed abortion as the second most important issue for voters after inflation — have privately considered toning down their anti-abortion rhetoric and instead depicting Democrats as villains on the matter.

Speaking virtually on Saturday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative event for evangelicals, Trump did just that, falsely implying that Democrats supported “ninth-month” abortions.

"I will continue to stand strong against the extreme late-term abortionists in the Democrat Party who believe in abortion on demand in the ninth month of pregnancy,” Trump said, per Fox News.

Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, attended the event in person and criticized his former boss for his “states’ only issue” position on abortion, telling reporters that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling “did not mean that [abortion is] a state’s only issue.”

Pence said, “All it meant was that states now have the ability to craft legislation that protects the unborn. I also hold to the view that Americans want to see leaders at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue who will stand for the sanctity of life.”

desantis ukraine

Ukraine Officials Invite 'Former Officer' DeSantis To Visit War-Torn Nation

Ukraine has invited Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to visit the war-torn country after the Republican branded Russia’s unprovoked invasion a “territorial dispute” not amongst the U.S.’s “many vital national interests.”

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, extended the invitation via Twitter on Tuesday evening, writing that DeSantis, a former serviceman, should be capable of distinguishing between disagreement and warfare.

“We are sure that as a former military officer deployed to a combat zone, Governor @RonDeSantisFL knows the difference between a ‘dispute’ and war. We invite him to visit Ukraine to get a deeper understanding of Russia’s full-scale invasion and the threats it poses to US interests,” Nikolenko tweeted.

The invitation came amid a cascade of criticism that followed DeSantis’s remarks characterizing U.S. support for Ukraine as the Biden Administration’s decision to back “virtual ‘blank check’ funding” of an “escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland.”

The Republican governor was responding to a questionnaire about the war in Ukraine that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson sent to several current and potential contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nominee ticket, including former President Donald Trump.

In his response, DeSantis also opined that continued aid to Ukraine would “greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely,” signaling that he would tamp down on Ukraine aid — or kill it completely — if elected president.

"While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said.

The governor’s stance on the matter, which mirrored Trump’s and those of the isolationist, MAGA arm of the GOP, drew a swift rebuke from other prominent Republicans.

In an interview Wednesday with New Hampshire Today, a morning radio show, former Vice President Mike Pence pushed back against DeSantis’ claims. He called Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine not a "territorial dispute" but “an unprovoked war of aggression.”

“Russia is attempting to redraw international lines by force," said Pence, who is reportedly mulling a 2024 presidential bid. “I strongly support continuing to provide the Ukrainian military the resources necessary to repel that Russian invasion.”

Nikki Haley, who launched her 2024 presidential bid in mid-February, also disagreed with DeSantis in her response to Carlson’s questionnaire.

"America is far better off with a Ukrainian victory than a Russian victory, including avoiding a wider war," Haley wrote, according to Fox News. "If Russia wins, there is no reason to believe it will stop at Ukraine. And if Russia wins, then its closest allies, China and Iran, will become more aggressive."

Senate Republicans, several of whom have sought support for Ukraine within their ranks, got in on the act, too — in support of the embattled U.S. ally.

“To those who believe that Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine is not a priority for the United States – you are missing a lot,” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) tweeted on Tuesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, rejected DeSantis’ sentiment that the Russia-Ukraine war was merely a “territorial dispute” of no interest to the U.S.

“Well, it’s not a territorial dispute in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas,” Rubio told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.

Sen John. Cornyn (R-TX), another Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Politico that DeSantis’ remarks had “disturbed” him.

"I'm disturbed by it. I think [DeSantis is] a smart guy… I hope he feels like he doesn't need to take that Tucker Carlson line to be competitive in the primary," Cornyn told the paper. "It's important for us to continue to support Ukrainians for our own security."

In recent remarks, Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Senate Republican whip, distanced himself from DeSantis’s position on the Russian invasion, telling reporters, “The majority opinion among Sen. Republicans is the U.S. has a vital national security interest... That's certainly the view I have.”