Former US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to publicly justify the federal indictment against former President Donald Trump in the classified documents case.
Speaking during a speech at a North Carolina GOP convention in Greensboro and quoted by The Hill, Pence said that Trump is facing an “unprecedented indictment” from a Justice Department (DOJ) that is “run by” the current President, Joe Biden, adding that the day of Trump’s indictment was a “sad day” for the country.
Pence said no one is above the law, but he has seen “years” of politicization from the DOJ, pointing to examples like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not facing prosecution for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary and a “hoax” of an investigation into alleged ties between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia.
The former Vice President said the country has a “right” to know the “basis” of the decision to indict Trump.
“Today, I’m calling on the attorney general to stand before the American people and explain why this was necessary in his words. Attorney General Merrick Garland, stop hiding behind the special counsel and stand before the American people and explain why this indictment went forward,” Pence said, according to The Hill.
According to the indictment which was unsealed on Friday, Trump faces 37 counts in the case, including 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, according to the indictment.
Walt Nauta, an aide to Trump, was also indicted in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the mishandling of classified documents.
Special counsel Jack Smith, whom Garland appointed to oversee the investigation after Trump declared his candidacy for president in 2024, emphasized the seriousness of the charges facing Trump on Friday shortly after the indictment was unsealed.
Smith said Trump is innocent until proven guilty but pushed against criticism from Trump and members of the Republican Party who have slammed the probe as politically motivated.
Also on Saturday, Trump denounced the indictment against him in a speech in Georgia, calling it "ridiculous and baseless."