Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday he was “100 percent confident” no one from his office was responsible for a New York Times op-ed describing a resistance within the White House.
Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Pence initially told moderator Margaret Brennan he “wouldn’t know” and would hope no one in the administration at large was involved in writing the editorial credited to a “senior administration official” and later clarified he was certain no one on his staff was involved.
“Let me be very clear: I’m 100 percent confident that no one on the vice president’s staff was involved in this anonymous editorial,” Pence said. “I know my people, Margaret. They get up every day and are dedicated, just as much as I am, to advancing the president’s agenda and supporting everything the President Trump is doing for the people of this country.”
Pence went on to say he didn’t explicitly ask any members of his staff if they were involved in the op-ed, but added he didn’t feel the need to.
“I don’t have to ask them because I know them. I know their character. I know their dedication, and I am absolutely confident that no one on the vice president’s staff had anything to do with this,” he said.
The vice president also disputed a claim in the report that there had been discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment to even remove President Donald Trump from office, saying such talks “never” happened.
Pence said he was “heartened” to see several members of the administration publicly state they weren’t involved in the piece and called for whoever was responsible to leave the administration.
“I truly believe that whoever penned this opinion editorial should do the honorable thing and resign,” he said. “I mean the truth of the matter is that the opinions that they expressed are not only deceitful and false but they’re also un-American and they represent an assault on our democracy.”
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Chris Coons, D- Del., agreed with Pence’s assessment that the author of the editorial should resign and come forward publicly with concerns about Trunp’s fitness to serve.
He added the editorial and an upcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward raise a concern in the questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
“I focused on ways in which Judge Kavanaugh has written, has spoken, issued decisions that suggest he has a very broad view of presidential power,” Coons said. “Given our current context, that could lead to a shield for President Trump from accountability by the special counsel’s investigation and that’s something that I tried to make the real focus of my questioning of Judge Kavanaugh.”
After the publication of the op-ed earlier this week, Trump questioned whether the New York Times was guilty of treason and called for the paper to turn the source over to the White House.
“Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Pence said the White House was waiting to determine whether criminal activity was involved, adding Trump was concerned the anonymous author may have had responsibilities in the area of national security.
“If they have published an anonymous editorial that says that they are misrepresenting themselves, that they are essentially living a lie within this administration, and trying to frustrate and subvert the agenda of the president was elected to advance, that’s an important issue,” Pence said.
Acknowledging such action wasn’t illegal, Pence added “every senior official in any administration takes an oath to the Constitution” which he said the author violated.
“To have an individual who took that oath, literally say that they work every day to frustrate the president advancing the agenda was elected to advance is undemocratic,” he said. “It’s not just deceitful, but it’s really an assault on our democracy and that person should do the honorable thing, step forward and resign.”
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