Former Vice President Mike Pence pushed back against Republican calls to dismantle the FBI entirely following its unprecedented raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, saying such proposals are “just as wrong” as Democrat efforts to “defund the police.”
“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the Attorney General [Merrick Garland] accountable for the decision that he made without attacking rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” Pence said Wednesday at a New England Council event.
FBI: Former Vice President Mike Pence: "Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police." pic.twitter.com/vRD56HYMU1
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 17, 2022
“And these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police,” Pence told the audience, who remained silent and did not applaud his remark.
“We need to get to the bottom of what happened. 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 decision that the Justice Department demands transparency as never before.”
Pence’s statement echoes that of FBI Director Christopher Wray, who, shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid, took to Twitter to condemn “unfounded attacks” on the FBI rather than explain the bureau’s historic actions against a former president and chief political rival of Joe Biden.
Statement from #FBI Director Wray: https://t.co/Q0QFNkE0Ak pic.twitter.com/UJA8eTKNpu
— FBI (@FBI) August 11, 2022
Contrary to Pence’s claim that Republicans are attacking the “rank-and-file” FBI employees, the real criticism has been aimed squarely at the FBI and DOJ leadership by members of both political parties.
Historian and Hoover Institute fellow Victor Davis Hanson recently suggested in a cutting analysis that the FBI is “beyond redemption” and should be abolished, citing its pattern of coverups and targeting of political opponents of the Democrat Party with the Russia collusion hoax.
“I never thought I would say this — the FBI is beyond redemption. All of its bureaus and its institutions have to be farmed out and broken up,” Hanson said on Fox News last week. “If you have a warrant, an FBI warrant, there’s no guarantee that that has not been altered. If you subpoena and you want FBI records on phones…they will be wiped clean. If you want disinterested legal counsel, look at Lisa Page.”
“And Peter Strzok, if you’re the FBI, and you want to find out why Hillary Clinton hired a foreign national to find dirt on a political opponent, then you will hire that same foreign national.”
“And you look at the last four directors,” he continued. “We just saw Christopher Wray, and he just stonewalled every question. And then he flew on an FBI plane, our plane, a luxury jet, because he had to go to his own vacation spot. He took over, remember from Andrew McCabe, what did he do? He lied four times to federal investigators and his wife was running for an office with Clinton-related PAC money while he was investigating Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.”
“He took over from James Comey, who leaked confidential memos, written on FBI devices to the media, and then when he was called before Congress on 245 occasions, he said, ‘he didn’t know,’ or ‘didn’t remember.’ Anybody listening to this tries that with the IRS and they’re going to go to jail,” he added.
These tone-deaf remarks by Pence are the latest example of why the Republican base has soundly rejected him as a prospective 2024 presidential candidate, where he scored an embarrassing 0.3% in the CPAC straw poll.
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