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Fmr. VP Mike Pence doubts Donald Trump's Jan. 6 actions were criminal

While Mike Pence condemned Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rhetoric, during an interview Sunday he said he's not "convinced" Trump's actions were criminal.
Fmr. VP Mike Pence doubts Donald Trump's Jan. 6 actions were criminal
Posted at 2:58 PM, Jul 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-23 19:26:00-04

Days after Former President Donald Trump revealed he was the target of an investigation into the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when a group of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol desiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the Republican front-runner raged about it on the campaign trail.

"We have a man — the only way he can get elected is to weaponize the Justice Department, which he's gone around doing," Trump told a crowd in Iowa this week, referring to President Joe Biden.

Making an assertion without evidence, Trump alluded to the ongoing Special Counsel investigation into the events of Jan. 6. Hundreds of Trump supporters have already pleaded guilty to charges in connection with that day. A civil jury has already found Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse.

In addition, Trump faces federal criminal charges in connection with the mishandling of top-secret documents as well as charges in New York City that he falsified business records. And of course, he’s running for the Republican nomination for president again.

But many Republican competitors continue to hedge their bets when it comes to attacking their party’s standard bearer. A recentFox News poll of South Carolina shows voters put him atop a crowded field.

SEE MORE: Trump's trial for classified documents case set for May 2024

Trump’s former vice president, now presidential contender Mike Penn, is anemic in the polls. He condemned Trump’s Jan. 6 rhetoric—the false allegations that the 2020 election outcome was rigged—but he couldn’t say whether Trump's actions warranted indictments.

"While his words were reckless,based on what I know, I’m not yet convinced that they were criminal," Mike Pence told CNN."President Trump was wrong on that day, and he's still wrong in asserting that I had the right to overturn the election, but what his intentions were—and as you know, criminal charges have everything to do with intent—what the president's state of mind was, and I don't honestly know what his intention was that day, whether as he spoke to that crowd, as he tweeted during the riot itself." 

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who, along with hundreds of other lawmakers, hid in fear during the attempted 2021 insurrection, was quick to condemn Trump.

"The president is not above the law. We saw what happened; it was very clear," said Pelosi on CNN. 

The California Democrat says Trump has a vice grip on Republican politics. Commenting on recent reports, her successor to the House Speaker's Office told Trump he’d expunge the former president's impeachments from the record.

"This is about being afraid. Donald Trump is the puppeteer. And as I’ve said before, what does he do? He shines the light on the strings," said Pelosi. 

Special Counsel Jack Smith is leading the investigation into the events of Jan. 6 and has not commented on the target letter Trump says he received last Sunday.

Trump has not shown any indication that the string of bad news is affecting him in any negative way.


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