Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, told NPR that the committee will meet next week to discuss offering Pence a formal invitation to voluntarily appear. “I think you could expect that before the month’s out,” the Mississippi Democrat said of the invitation to Pence.
Pence certified the 2020 presidential election despite an extensive pressure campaign led by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to halt the process.
A committee aide confirmed to CNN that the group is considering an offer for Pence to appear, but a final decision has not been made.
“The Chairman’s comments indicate that the Select Committee is contemplating issuing an invitation to the former Vice President sometime this month,” the aide said in a statement.
While the option of inviting Pence to appear is under discussion, another source connected to the committee made it clear it is something the members still need to hash out before moving forward.
“The committee is taking a responsible and considered approach to these matters and will address these issues in an appropriate fashion and at an appropriate time,” the source said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the select committee, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday that the committee is interested in talking to Pence and that asking him to appear is one of the options they are considering.
“As the chair has indicated, we intend to extend that invitation fairly soon,” the California Democrat said.
Schiff, however, would not comment on whether the committee would take the step of issuing a subpoena if Pence turned down its offer.
“Mike Pence knows things that only Mike Pence knows and it would be very important to completely fill out our work and I think this is one more public service that needs to be performed by the former Vice President,” he said.
CNN first reported the committee’s interest in talking to Pence on Tuesday.
As previously reported, Thompson said the former vice president’s unique role on January 6 is a key part of what the panel needs to understand.
Pence’s decision to disregard the pressure campaign he was under, Thompson previously said, put the former vice president at extreme risk from the rioters on the day of the attack.
“His life was at risk,” Thompson said at the time. “There were people who had gallows erected on the lawn of the Capitol ostensibly to hang the vice president. There were people on them threatening the life of the vice president. The vice president could not leave the Capitol of the United States because of the riot. He was sequestered in an area in the Capitol. So his life was in danger.”