SPONSORED:

Key impeachment figure Pence sticks to sidelines

Key impeachment figure Pence sticks to sidelines
© Getty Images

Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard Pence'QAnon shaman' is 'wounded' Trump hasn't helped him Biden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill MORE has emerged as a key figure in former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE's Senate impeachment trial, but those close to the former vice president say he has no intention of getting involved.

Pence's name has been invoked repeatedly during the proceedings this week. The then-vice president was escorted out of the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 as pro-Trump rioters stormed the complex, and the timeline of events has left unanswered questions about when the former president knew Pence was in danger and what, if anything, he did to intervene.

As the Senate mulls how to proceed, Pence has become something akin to what former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump offered North Korea's Kim a ride home on Air Force One: report Key impeachment figure Pence sticks to sidelines Bolton lawyer: Trump impeachment trial is constitutional MORE was in Trump's first impeachment trial — a potentially valuable witness who would fill in gaps but one who has remained on the sidelines.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I can't imagine him getting anywhere near this trial," one source close to the former vice president said.

The source also suggested it was unlikely Pence would incriminate Trump if he did come forward. The relationship between the two men soured in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, but Pence was unflinchingly loyal for four years before that and still has aspirations of running for president in 2024.

A spokesperson for Pence did not respond to requests for comment about whether the former vice president or members of his team would be willing to testify if called.

The vice president has been featured in Democrats' case against Trump. House managers presented footage that showed how close Pence came to encountering rioters when he was first taken out of the Senate.

Rioters were heard chanting both "Traitor Pence" and "Hang Mike Pence" as the mayhem unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to news reports and video footage played during the House managers' presentation.

ADVERTISEMENT

It does not appear Trump's defense team or House impeachment managers are looking to call Pence into the chamber to testify, as both sides appear ready to conclude the trial as early as Saturday.

But pressure for Pence to share his accounting of the events on Jan. 6 has only grown in recent days.

"To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time," Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerRepublicans, please save your party Wray says no evidence of 'antifa' involvement in Jan. 6 attack Arizona rep to play leading role in GOP women's group ahead of midterms MORE (R-Wash.), one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, said in a statement late Friday.

Some Republican senators who appear open to voting to convict Trump for inciting violence have expressed particular interest in whether Trump knew Pence was in danger when he tweeted that Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution" by refusing to reject electors for President BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE.

The tweet was the first Trump sent after protesters forced their way into the complex, and former government officials have voiced skepticism that Trump would not have been notified that Pence was being moved by the Secret Service.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits Republicans, please save your party MORE (R-Utah), the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial, asked during proceedings on Friday whether Trump knew Pence was in danger when he criticized his vice president via a tweet.

"The answer is no," Trump attorney Michael van der Veen said.

But that argument has been undercut by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), a staunch Trump supporter, who has been adamant that Trump called him as Pence was being taken out of the chamber and that he told the then-president what was happening before hanging up. 

Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyTrump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC Republicans, please save your party Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra MORE (R-La.), who voted that the trial was constitutional and should proceed, pointed to Tuberville's statement in a question of his own Friday.

“The tweet and lack of response suggests President Trump did not care that Vice President Pence was endangered or that law enforcement was overwhelmed,” Cassidy wrote in his question.

Pence has remained out of the spotlight since the mayhem of Jan. 6. He did not speak to Trump for days after the insurrection, but he rejected calls to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the then-president from office.

The former vice president has not given an interview since Jan. 6 or addressed his experience during the riots at length. He has announced he will join the Heritage Foundation and Young America's Foundation, two conservative groups where he will keep a foothold in Washington, D.C., as he mulls his political future.