In Potentially Most Important Testimony Yet, 1/6 Committee Deposed Pence’s Chief of Staff

One of the often-used definitions of a Chief of Staff is that the chief is the first and last person to speak to his or her employer during the day, a powerful position indeed, setting schedules, the role includes being part consultant, analyst, confessor, and mouthpiece, a chief of staff can control the office to a staggering degree. Good ones do, and the proof that they are pros is that one’s never heard of them.

All reports, even contemporaneous reports during the administration, were that Marc Short, Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff was very good and very close to Pence who was very close – at least in proximity – to Trump. It is therefore highly significant that last week, unbeknownst to anyone, surely just as planned, Short testified to the Select Committee and gave the Committee perhaps the closest direct testimony they have received to date.

Yes, the Committee dearly wants to speak to Vice President Pence. Now, however, the reality is that it likely wouldn’t learn much it had not already heard from Short. As described by CNN:

“[Short] had given lengthy testimony under subpoena last week. It represents one of the most significant signs of momentum for the committee so far. It drives Pence and congressional investigators inexorably toward a fateful dilemma — over whether the ex-vice president who blocked Trump’s coup as the last resort in Congress will testify about his experience.”

Short would be the one who could say “but for Vice President Pence, Trump would have made his run at overthrowing the government.”

“Short may be the most significant witness widened the schism between Pence’s team and several Trump acolytes who have defied the panel at the risk of criminal prosecution. That split may finally blow the inside story of January 6 wide open.”

Short would have been in on many meetings in which Pence was told what he could-should do, and hear about the meetings that he did not attend.

“Testimony by an ultra-loyal aide to Pence will inevitably fan fresh speculation on whether the former vice president will be called to testify. Even for a panel that is probing one of the most notorious days in American history, such a step would be a significant escalation.

Pence is potentially the most eye-catching possible witness other than Trump himself. His testimony would carry greater weight with the public than that of lower-ranked officials. But it would also likely destroy the political balance he’s trying to strike between explaining his actions on January 6, 2021, and preserving his own political future with a Trump-loving base.”

Yes, the idea of Pence having a future in Republican politics is laughable. Either the GOP stays within Trump’s full command, in which case Pence will not be given any role at all, as we heard from Trump just over the weekend. Or, the GOP will have an entire conversion (unlikely), in which case Pence would still have too much MAGA to be considered viable in a new “fresh start” GOP.

Short seems to understand that they should be more concerned about criminal and historical calculations right now, well before anything political. It is curious as to when Mark Meadows might make the same calculation. It has been 47 days since Congress referred Meadows’s rejection to DOJ. He has yet to be indicted.

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