Former Vice President said the federal indictment against contains “very serious allegations” that he can’t defend — but believes politics motivated the case against the ex-president.
Pence reacted to the 37-count indictment in a sit-down with The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on Tuesday as Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment at a Miami federal courthouse.
“Having read the indictment, these are very serious allegations. And I can’t defend what is alleged,” said Pence, who is facing off against Trump in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
“But the President is entitled to his day in court, he’s entitled to bring a defense, and I want to reserve judgment until he has the opportunity to respond,” Pence told the newspaper’s editorial board.
Pence stressed that “no one is above the law” but noted “as an American you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
The latest charges against Trump stem from his alleged mishandling of classified documents that were seized from his Mar-A-Lago estate last year.
The sensitive material was found at the Florida resort in “a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room,” according to the indictment.
“The suggestion that there were documents pertaining to the defense capabilities of the United States and our allies, our nuclear program, to potential vulnerabilities of the United States and our allies . . . Even the inadvertent release of that kind of information could compromise our national security and the safety of our armed forces,” Pence said.
“And, frankly, having two members of our immediate family serving in the armed forces of the United States, I will never diminish the importance of protecting our nation’s secrets,” the former vice president added.
Pence also slammed the Justice Department for its role in “two and a half years of a Russia hoax” and said that “after years of politicization, it’s hard for me to believe that politics didn’t play some role in this decision.”
He told the Journal that Attorney General Merrick Garland owes Americans an explanation of what role “he played or his judgement played” in the first ever federal indictment of a former commander in chief.
“I think millions of Americans are deeply troubled by this indictment, particularly given the fact that Hillary Clinton engaged in very similar behavior in the 2016 campaign and did not face indictment,” Pence said.
“And we’ve got to have equal treatment under the law in this country. My bottom line is this: I think the American people have lost confidence in the Department of Justice, not just because of this, but because of, really, a long series of abuses that have come to light.”