Former Pence aide explains why he alerted Secret Service ahead of Jan. 6

A top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he spoke to Secret Service before the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol regarding concerns about the consequences of then-President Trump’s rhetoric as thousands of his supporters descended on Washington, D.C.

Marc Short, who served as Pence’s chief of staff at the time, said he spoke with the vice president’s lead Secret Service agent after it became clear that the belief among Trump and his aides that Pence could unilaterally stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win was about to spill into the public.

“And I think with thousands of people descending upon Washington with hopes of a different outcome, I just thought it was important that they be alerted to that,” Short said on CNN. “But I didn’t have any specific intelligence, I did not have any knowledge the Capitol would be attacked the way it was.”

Asked if he was concerned about Pence’s safety, Short said he “wouldn’t have said something otherwise.”

Short, who praised the work of Secret Service, said he worried that Trump was about to go public with his belief that Pence had the power to change the election result, and said, “I’m not sure the consequences of that were thought through by people around the president with thousands of people coming to Washington.”

The New York Times previously reported that Short had spoken with Secret Service ahead of the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse, which preceded the riots at the Capitol.

Short’s appearance on CNN came on the eve of a hearing for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots that is expected to focus on the pressure campaign on Pence by Trump and his allies. Trump for weeks insisted Pence could single-handedly reject the electors certified by the Electoral College and stop President Biden from taking office.

Pence ultimately wrote in a letter on Jan. 6 that he did not find he had the constitutional authority to do so. He has since said Trump was “wrong” to assert the vice president could change the election outcome, calling the idea un-American.

Short will not testify in person on Thursday, but he previously testified behind closed doors for eight hours under subpoena. Some of that testimony is likely to be played at the public hearing on Thursday.

Short said he had concerns about the composition of the Jan. 6 committee after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected an initial slate of Republican appointees because some had voted to challenge the 2020 election results. And he said the committee’s intent did not appear to be focused on the security lapses or legislative fixes to avoid a similar event in the future.

Asked if Pence has been watching the hearings, Short said: “I think it’s hard not to avoid some of the coverage, but I don’t think he’s glued to the TV watching the hearings every day.”

Tags Joe Biden Marc Short Mike Pence
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