CNN reported exclusively on Monday that former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, gave lengthy testimony under a subpoena last week. His appearance before the committee is the latest sign that the panel has carved a window through Pence’s staff into events in the West Wing on and before January 6, 2021, that aides to Trump tried to hide.
News of Short’s testimony, first reported by CNN’s Jamie Gangel and Gloria Borger, represents one of the most significant signs of momentum for the committee to date. It leaves Pence and congressional investigators inevitably with a fateful dilemma – about whether the former vice president who stopped Trump’s coup as a last resort in Congress will testify. about his experience.
Short is the latest key figure in Pence’s orbit to speak on a channel that created live, behind-the-scenes access to the Oval Office before and during the Trump-incited mob attack on the Capitol. Short is possibly the most important witness publicly available to have spoken to the committee. And by submitting the subpoena, he widened the divide between Pence’s team and some members of Trump who challenged the panel to the risk of criminal prosecution. That split could eventually blow up the inner story of the wide-open January 6th.
The testimony of an aide extremely loyal to Pence is sure to spark new speculation about whether the former vice president will be called to testify. Even for a panel probing one of the most infamous days in American history, such a move would be a significant escalation. Pence is likely to be the most eye-catching witness possible other than Trump himself. His testimony will carry more weight with the public than that of lower-ranking officials. But it also has the potential to destroy the political balance he is trying to strike between explaining his actions on January 6, 2021, and preserving his own political future with an established base. love Trump.
An important witness
The committee’s recent strides, including testimony from key players and the Supreme Court’s victory over Trump that unlocked the White House’s trove of documents, have raised the possibility of a full report. appearance on January 6 could shock the public and potentially damage the former -President’s hopes of a return.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump’s former White House communications director, said that Short could provide key evidence for the investigation.
“What he can shed light on is what happened that day, the imminent danger that Vice President Pence faces,” said Farah Griffin, now CNN political commentator. said on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“He will also be able to talk about the previous pressure campaign by President Trump and some of the advisers around him to try to get the vice president to take on this unconstitutional role and get rid of the electors. tri,” she said.
Short is known to be deeply loyal to Pence. For some Trump supporters, his speaking to the committee could be seen as a betrayal of the former vice president himself.
But CNN legal analyst Elie Honig says Short could be the “perfect witness”.
“(He) has a rare combination of two attributes,” said Honig. “One, it has to be someone powerful enough, well connected enough that he’s in the room while the conversations are going. And two, it’s got to be someone with access and power but no middle ground. blindly loyal to Trump.”
New evidence of Trump’s temper
There have been enough accounts of Trump’s fury in the Oval Office to lessen the surprise of revelations that he tore up important documents. But the former President’s disdain for history and accountability still underscores the lawlessness of his administration.
The Archives, in response to questions from CNN, said that “some of the President Trump records received by the National Archives and Records Administration included paper records that were torn up by former President Trump. .”
The plan to use federal government power to access voting machines in states that Trump lost, sources say, was the brainchild of retired Colonel Phil Waldron and retired Lieutenant General Phil Waldron. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. Both military veterans spread misinformation about the election stolen from Trump. Any operation for the military or federal agents to seize voting equipment for political purposes would be unprecedented in American history.
New evidence only raises the stakes for the committee
The frequent new revelations about January 6, more than a year later, only hint at the mountains of information the House committee already had access to and the range of possible questions for Pence.
Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, who sits on the House selection committee, told CNN Sunday that no decision has been made yet on whether to try to talk to Trump or Pence but it will “overwhelm” heavy” to the committee to do so. .
Any further sign of Pence’s personal cooperation with a committee decried by Trump and House Republicans as a witch hunt will likely end what has looked like a political balancing act. impossible. With an eye on a possible future White House bid, Pence argued that he fulfilled his constitutional obligation on January 6 by defying Trump’s request to help steal election. But he tries to reclaim part of the former President’s political legacy. Still, many Republicans remain skeptical that a vice president who has always displayed ostentatious loyalty to Trump, but broke up with him at the last minute, has any future in a party that remains a matter of fact. personality cult of the former President.
Trump’s proclamation is a window into his state of mind and the dire threat any new term in the White House will pose to American democracy as he repeatedly corrects his claims. his mistake that he was illegally forced from power. But it could also be aimed at threatening Pence not to go any further with the committee.
The statement from a famously vindictive former President also shows that as long as Trump remains a force in the GOP, Pence will never see any hope of getting into the White House of his own accord. His fate may have been settled when Trump told his crowd on January 6 to march on Capitol Hill to force the then vice president to “do the right thing”. And instead, Pence honored his obligation to the Constitution.