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Pence says he thinks there will be "better choices" than Trump for president in 2024

Key takeaways from Pence interview
Mike Pence on Trump, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 committee 11:19

Former Vice President Mike Pence said he thinks there will be "better choices" for president in 2024 than former President Donald Trump, who announced his bid for the White House a day ago.

"Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan asked Pence in an interview Wednesday, "Do you think there is a danger in Donald Trump being president?"

In response, Pence touted the administration's accomplishments, but he conceded that "obviously it didn't end well." 

"While the president and I parted amicably, I believe as we look to the future, we'll have better choices," he told Brennan. 

In the final days of Trump's presidency, Pence endured intense pressure from Trump, who urged him to unilaterally overturn the 2020 presidential election results on Jan. 6, 2021, when Congress counted the electoral ballots, by refusing to affirm the ballots of battleground states that had voted for Joe Biden. 

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Pence's book, "So Help Me God," which details his time in the White House, was released on Tuesday. "So Help Me God" is published by Simon & Schuster, which is a division of Paramount Global, as is CBS News. A book can sometimes be considered a prelude to a presidential campaign launch, although Pence has said he will not announce if he is running until next year. 

Pence also said he is "closing the door" on testifying before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The panel has focused its investigation on Trump's attempts to overturn the election, his actions leading up to Jan. 6 and his conduct that day as his supporters descended on the Capitol. 

"The Congress has no right to my testimony," Pence said. "We have a separation of powers under the Constitution of the United States, and I believe it sets a terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House." 

Pence had previously said he would "consider" testifying before the committee, which held a series of public hearings this summer and fall. The House Jan. 6 select committee said in response on Wednesday night that it has "proceeded respectfully and responsibly in our engagement with Vice President Pence, so it is disappointing that he is misrepresenting the nature of our investigation while giving interviews to promote his new book."   

"The Select Committee has consistently praised the former Vice President's refusal to bow to former President Trump's pressure to illegally refuse to count electoral votes on Jan. 6," the committee said. "But his recent statements about the Select Committee are not accurate."  

Two of Pence's top aides, his counsel Greg Jacob and chief of staff Marc Short, testified both at a public hearing and privately before the committee. They both described Trump's pressure campaign on Pence and his office before the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress.

Pence said Wednesday that he "never stood in the way" of senior members of his team testifying before the committee. He called the "partisan nature" of the Jan. 6 committee a "disappointment." 

"It seemed to me in the beginning there was an opportunity to examine every aspect of what happened on Jan. 6, and to do so more in the spirit of the 9/11 Commission —  nonpartisan, nonpolitical," Pence said. "And that was an opportunity lost." 

Attempts to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, similar to the 9/11 Commission, were quashed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The committee noted in its statement Wednesday that every one of its members supported an independent commission, and the "select Committee was formed only after the proposal for an outside commission was defeated."

After the proposed bipartisan commission was rejected, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formed the select committee, which is expected to be dissolved when Republicans take control of the House. Pelosi had pledged to put a Republican on the committee and named GOP Rep. Liz Cheney to the committee with her Democratic picks. 

Initially, the select committee was to include five lawmakers chosen by McCarthy. His picks included Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, both of whom were rejected by Pelosi. In protest, McCarthy pulled all the GOP members and refused to cooperate. The committee on Wednesday called McCarthy's actions a "cynical choice."

Pelosi then selected another Republican who agreed to serve, Rep. Adam Kinzinger. 

Pence has talked about moving past the 2020 election, but Brennan pointed out that that may be difficult, since so many Republicans — including Trump — have not. Further, the Department of Homeland Security has pointed to a direct line between the idea the 2020 election was stolen and domestic extremism. 

When asked if there is an opportunity for Republicans to reflect on what occurred on Jan. 6, Pence said he would "leave that to others."

But the former vice president did say that there has been "far too much talk about questioning the integrity of our elections." 

"We have a process in this country where states conduct elections, questions of irregularity and fraud are adjudicated in the courts," Pence said. "States then certify electoral votes. And as we did on Jan. 6, in the wake of the terrible violence, the role of the Congress is open and count those votes and certify the election. We did that. Joe Biden was elected president of the United States of America."

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