Pence rebuffed allegations that the FBI instigated the riot, praising the federal agency for charging more than 1,000 protesters for the day and saying he hopes to see everyone involved that conducted the protest "held to the fullest extent of the law."
"I've seen the director of the FBI repeatedly assure the American people that the FBI were not the instigators of the riot that occurred on January 6," Pence said to CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday.
"Frankly, I'm very grateful for the efforts of the FBI to bring nearly a thousand people to justice who ransacked our Capitol and did violence against police officers that day," added Pence, Donald Trump's former VP.
"I've heard the many repeated assurances from the FBI that they were not involved and I take them at their word," said Pence.
Pence's comments strongly differentiate from the majority of the GOP's stance that the FBI had a role in the riot, mostly citing the incident surrounding a man named Ray Epps, who was caught on video encouraging Trump supporters to go into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Epps first appeared on the FBI's most-wanted Jan. 6 list, but was later removed from the poster, which caused extreme suspicion due to the FBI hunting down grandmothers who peacefully walked through the Capitol with American flags.
Furthermore, Epps was also one of the first protesters to instigate violence on Jan. 6 by tearing down a police barrier and physically pushing through a police line to get closer to the Capitol. Despite evidence showing Epps was one of the main instigators of violence on that day, he only received a six-month prison sentence, while other defendants, who committed far less serious offenses, received multiple years in prison. Many claim that Epps was only sentenced to cover-up allegations that he is a fed.
Billionaire biotech entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, described the three-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot as "Entrapment Day." He fired out what he called a series of truths surrounding that day on X.
"Happy Entrapment Day," said Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy wrote, "Steve D'Antuono, the FBI chief overseeing the Detroit field office during the Gretchen Whitmer fake kidnapping plot – where 5 men were acquitted due to FBI entrapment – was promoted in Fall 2020 to lead the Washington, DC FBI field office…three months before Jan 6."
"Attorney General Merrick Garland & FBI Director Christopher Wray have refused to say under questioning how many informants or undercover agents were embedded in the crowd on January 6," said Ramaswamy.
The presidential candidate continued, "Ray Epps, who was caught *on camera* telling people to go into the Capitol building, was placed on the FBI "Most Wanted" list immediately after Jan 6, but then suddenly removed. Three years later, the US government slapped Epps with a single "disorderly conduct" charge (0-6 months in jail)."
In the nearly two years since the events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol building, the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden has been busy identifying, arresting, and punishing those who were involved.
Over 1,200 people have been apprehended in connection with the day thus far. According to data from the DOJ reviewed by the Washington Examiner, by the end of 2023, nearly 850 years of prison time has been handed down to around 450 defendants. While the majority have received sentences of only a few days, others who were found guilty of more serious offenses that day now face years, and in some cases decades, behind bars.
On Saturday, former President Donald Trump, who is the current Republican frontrunner in the 2024 presidential primary election, referred to the Jan. 6 political prisoners as "hostages" and demanded President Biden release them. He has also claimed that the FBI had an alleged role in the riot, according to the New York Post.
The relationship between the former vice president and Donald Trump declined after Pence refused to abide by Trump's request to not certify the results of the 2020 election on Jan. 6. Pence, the former governor of Indiana, launched a presidential bid last year but dropped out in October.
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