EXCLUSIVE: Pence says prospect of Trump’s arrest is ‘a politically charged lawsuit’

During an exclusive interview in Iowa with ABC News’ “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl, former Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that the possible arrest of former President Donald Trump would be “a politically charged lawsuit.”

On his social media platform on Saturday morning, Trump claimed he would be arrested on Tuesday as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into alleged cash payments made to Stormy Daniels ahead of the presidential election in 2016 – he also called on his supporters to protest.

A Trump spokesperson appeared to walk back his comments in a statement, saying in part that there was no notification that “the Manhattan District Attorney has decided to take his witch hunt to the next level. The President Trump rightly points to his innocence and the weaponization of our system of injustice.”

Pence said he found the news revealing of “radical left” priorities.

“I am surprised at the idea of ​​indicting a former president of the United States, at a time when there is a crime wave in New York, that – the fact that the Manhattan prosecutor thinks that indicting the president Trump is his top priority, I think it is, tells you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country,” Pence told Karl.

“It feels like a politically charged lawsuit here. And I, for one, just feel like that’s just not what the American people want to see.”

ABC News’ Jon Karl interviews former Vice President Mike Pence on “This Week.”

ABC News

Pence did not disavow Trump’s call to protest, citing that “the American people have the constitutional right to peaceful assembly,” although he stressed that any protest should be held “in a peaceful and lawful manner.”

“The frustration that the American people feel about what they feel is a two-tier justice system in this country, I think – I think it’s well-founded but – I – and – I believe that people understand that if they give voice to this, if it happens on Tuesday, that they have to do it peacefully and legally. That the violence that happened on January 6, the violence that happened in the cities across this country in the summer of 2020 was a disgrace people won’t tolerate it and those who engage in this kind of violence should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Pence said.

Top Republicans joined Trump in outrage.

In a tweet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the possible arrest “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical prosecutor who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues his political revenge against the President Trump”.

McCarthy added that he will direct relevant subcommittees “to immediately investigate whether federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”

Former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s call for protests was “reckless” in a tweeted statement.

“He can’t hide his violations of the law, his disrespect for our elections and his incitement to violence,” Pelosi said.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office had no comment. ABC News has not verified Trump’s claims.

Pence has considered a bid for the White House, though his exact timeline is unclear. He said he and his family hope to make a decision by spring.

The full interview with Pence will air Sunday morning on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

ABC News

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