(WASHINGTON) — Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday castigated Republicans who are attacking the FBI after the agency searched Donald Trump’s residence in Florida.
The Aug. 8 search at Mar-a-Lago, which sources told ABC News is tied to the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified documents and other White House records, has Republicans railing against the federal law enforcement agency as well as the Department of Justice.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, the number 3 House Republican, said the search was “a complete abuse and overreach of its authority.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is calling to defund the FBI. Trump himself has consistently assailed the FBI and Department of Justice, calling the raid “an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”
The FBI has warned about rising threats against law enforcement since the search. A joint intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News said there has been an “increase in threats and acts of violence” against law enforcement and government personnel in response to what occurred at Mar-a-Lago.
Last week, a man armed with AR-15 style rifle allegedly tried to break into an FBI field office in Cincinnati and later was shot dead by police. Law enforcement officials said they were investigating the suspect’s social media posts, which included calls for violence in the days after the raid.
Speaking at a political event in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday, Pence said the criticisms coming from members of his own party have to end.
“The Republican Party is the party of law and order,” Pence said. “And these attacks on the FBI must stop; calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”
Pence said he was “deeply troubled” to learn that a search warrant was executed at Trump’s estate but said the party can still hold Attorney General Merrick Garland accountable “without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI.”
“The truth of the matter is, we need to get to the bottom of what happened,” Pence continued. “We need to let the facts play out, but more than anything else, the American people need to be reassured in the integrity of our justice system and the very appearance of a recurrence of politics playing a role in decisions that the Justice Department demands transparency as never before.”
The vice president said he will continue to urge Attorney General Merrick Garland to make such information available to the public.
Trump and his allies want the search warrant affidavit to be released but the Department of Justice said doing so would jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigation.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday on the request from multiple media outlets, ABC News included, to unseal the affidavit.
Pence also commented on the work of the Jan. 6 committee at the “Politics & Eggs” breakfast at St. Anselm College. The former vice president stating he would consider testifying if asked. Sources have told ABC News that committee investigators have been privately engaging with Pence’s lawyer about securing his potential testimony for months.
“Any formal invitation rendered to us, we’d give it due consideration. But my first obligation is to continue to uphold my oath, continue to uphold this framework of government enshrined in the Constitution, this created the greatest nation in the history of the world,” he said.
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