Former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he cannot defend “what is alleged” in the federal indictment against former President Donald Trump over classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, but he also pledged to clean house at the Department of Justice.
Mr. Pence, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, reacted to the charges by saying, “No one is above the law.”
“This indictment contains serious charges. I cannot defend what is alleged,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “Creating an opportunity where highly classified material could have fallen into the wrong hands, even inadvertently, that jeopardizes our national security, it puts at risk the men and women of our armed forces.”
“The former president has a right to make his case in court,” Mr. Pence said.
At the same time, he said, the American people have lost confidence in the Department of Justice over its decision not to charge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server and the “hailstorm” of investigations into the Trump administration over alleged connections to Russia.
“Tens of millions of Americans have a sense of a two-tiered system of justice, and I think it cries out for new leadership,” Mr. Pence said.
He said one of the first things he would do as president is “clean house” at the Justice Department and bring in people who are respected on both sides of the aisle.
Mr. Trump said he is not guilty at his arraignment on Tuesday.
Mr. Pence significantly trails his former boss in early GOP primary polling, attracting single-digit support, while Mr. Trump routinely grabs more than half of the Republican electorate and leads his nearest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by double digits.
The vice president is championing the agenda items he accomplished with Mr. Trump but criticized the former president for putting him and others in danger on Jan. 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob pressed Mr. Pence to thwart the certification of electoral votes at the U.S. Capitol.
Also Wednesday, Mr. Pence criticized President Biden over his economic stewardship, pointing to a 16.2% increase in inflation since the current administration took office.
“We just got to get back to a commitment to fiscal solvency and reform,” Mr. Pence said. “People are hurting with the rising cost of living, the American people want to see leadership in Washington, D.C.”
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