Democratic leadership very much wants Vice President Mike Pence — who you may remember was publicly lied to by Michael Flynn regarding the former Trump adviser’s contacts with Russia during the Trump team’s transition into office — to testify before Congress in the Russian collusion investigation. Mike Pence’s answer?
Cool story, bro. But no.
The request seems to stem from Democratic lawmakers’ belief that, because Pence was tapped to head the transition team shortly after the election, replacing Gov. Chris Christie once he fell out of favor with President Trump, the Vice President should be compelled to tell what he knows.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, put it this way: “There are some serious questions that Vice President Pence should answer: What did he know and when did he know it?”
In late November, Mr. Blumenthal sent the vice president a letter asking him a series of questions about Mr. Flynn and dealings he had with foreign governments during the transition.
“I write to you because, as chairman of the Trump transition team, you were responsible for overseeing Mr. Flynn,” Mr. Blumenthal wrote to Mr. Pence.
Mr. Pence’s office received the letter but isn’t planning to reply, a person familiar with the matter said.
For his part, Pence, through an administration official, said he is unlikely to comply with requests to testify because he sees no precedent that would mandate his testimony. In his capacity as leader of the transition team — which, remember, is the reason Dems give for wanting his testimony to begin with — he was focused “much more [on] trying to build out a cabinet and get people in front of the president so that he could make a decision about who would be joining the cabinet,” a senior White House official said.
Pence’s determination that he is under no mandate to appear before Congress in the Russian collusion investigation is exacerbated by the fact that Democrats, in the minority in both the House and Senate, will have to receive support from Republicans to compel any witnesses to appear.
Pence declining to testify may be a sign they won’t get much cooperation from their co-legislators across the aisle.