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January 6 committee considering asking Mike Pence to voluntarily appear before panel

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.

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.

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“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.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the committee, had told NBC on Thursday she was looking forward to Pence’s cooperation and his team “continuing” their cooperation in the panel’s investigation, calling the former vice president a “hero” for his actions that day.

Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper later Thursday — the one-year anniversary of the insurrection, the Wyoming Republican said she thinks Pence “played a very important consequential role” on January 6. “Making sure we could carry out our constitutional duties. I am confident he wants the American people to know the truth. He loves this country, and he will want to make sure this committee is successful,” she said.

The vice president had acted as a “constitutional patriot” on the day of the attack, Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat serving on the committee, told CNN on Thursday.

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.

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“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.”

This story has been updated with additional details Thursday.

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