Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Democrat-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, says members expect this month to ask former Vice President Mike Pence to appear of his own volition.
Thompson expressed the committee's intent to talk to Pence in a Friday NPR interview.
Pence's role on the day of the rioting at the Capitol has drawn close interest from the committee, which is examining the actions of former President Donald Trump and his administration. It's considering actions taken leading up to the breach, and on the day it unfolded.
Prior to the siege, Trump had been pressing Pence to step out of his ceremonial role overseeing congressional certification of Electoral College tallies to reject Joe Biden's election results in several states.
"I think you could expect that before the month's out," Thompson said, according to NPR.
Thompson went on to call Pence's appearance critical, particularly after Pence ultimately issued a letter before Jan. 6 saying he would not in fact diverge from that ceremonial oversight role to alter the certification process.
"Because of his respect for law, there were people who came to the Capitol a year ago wanting to hang him," Thompson said. And so, if for no other reason, our committee really needs to hear what are his opinions about what happened on Jan. 6."
He said the committee expects to firm up its Pence plans behind closed doors some time next week.
The effort comes as the committee continues to ramp up its probe and expand its scope. Recently it asked that pro-Trump Fox News personality Sean Hannity and Republican Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio come before the panel as well, although news reports say there's been no signal from any of these men that they plan to do so.
NPR said Thompson did not rule out more requests for other witnesses in Trump's inner circle, including daughter and former senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump.
"Look, we are absolutely open to anyone coming voluntarily to the committee," Thompson said. "If in fact we think somebody has information that as a committee we need, and getting a subpoena for that person's participation is important, then we will do it."
The committee has been dogged by allegations it is a politically motivated endeavor, with its goal to ultimately fault Trump for inciting the Capitol breach.
The Capitol was stormed by Trump suppporters aiming to halt the vote certification. Trump had claimed, as he continues to assert to this day, that the election was marred by widespread voter fraud.
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