Mike Pence
Mike PenceREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday he hoped the Justice Department would not pursue charges against former President Donald Trump for his conduct around the January 6 riots on the Capitol, after the former President said he was notified he’s the target of the agency’s investigation into his attempts overturn the 2020 election.

Speaking to Elizabeth Vargas on NewsNation, Pence once again reiterated past comments that Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were “reckless,” and that the former President continues to be wrong in his assertions about the 2020 election.

“But with regard to the prospect of an indictment, I hope it doesn’t come to that,” added Pence, who is running against Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“I’m not convinced that the President acting on the bad advice of a group of crank lawyers that came into the White House in the days before Jan. 6 is actually criminal,” he stated.

“And secondly, the truth is that the Department of Justice has lost the confidence of the American people. And there’s so many Americans that are deeply concerned about unequal treatment under the law,” Pence continued.

“I don’t know what the letter today means, the notification means, but my hope is that the judgment about the President’s actions on Jan. 6 would be left to the American people,” the former Vice President added.

Pence’s comments came after Trump said on his Truth Social platform that he was alerted he is a target of the Justice Department’s investigation focusing on his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Receiving a target letter is often a sign someone could soon face charges in a matter where prosecutors have gathered substantial evidence. It’s unclear what specific charges Trump could face if prosecutors decide to move ahead.

The Department of Justice investigations against Trump are being led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last November.

Smith is overseeing the investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election as well as Trump’s handling of classified documents, for which Trump has already been indicted and pleaded not guilty.

Before the indictment in the classified documents probe, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged the former president on 34 counts of falsifying business records in March.