Marc Short, a top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence, is wary of the FBI investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House records — and the legal team defending the former president.
Like many Republicans, Short believes a politicized FBI acted with harsh law enforcement tactics to obtain records in Trump’s possession while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received comparatively lenient treatment during the 2016 investigation of her email server.
“Hillary Clinton was wrong to transfer those documents and President Trump likely should not have been in possession of those documents. I don’t think that’s too far of a stretch for a rational person to say,” Short said. “How do we move to a position where we’re actually having a raid on the former president’s home?…I think there has to be continued transparency on the part of DOJ here.”
The Justice Department’s filing on Tuesday indicated investigators made several efforts to retrieve documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home through less intrusive means, but later learned there were more records, although a Trump attorney affirmed a “diligent” sweep of the estate had been completed.
Short told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on “The Takeout” Wednesday that the ex-president is being ill-served by his legal counsel. “I think one of the more troubling aspects of disclosures (on Tuesday) was misrepresentations by the president’s lawyers in documents to the FBI. And there’s a big difference between playing a lawyer on TV and actually being the sound lawyer advising the former president.” Short noted the president has since expanded his legal team, adding former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise.
Before serving as Pence’s chief of staff, Short was the top White House liaison to Capitol Hill under Trump. He participated in several classified briefings with the then-president and did not consider Trump “reckless” with sensitive documents.
Short said there was a process for White House staff “that you signed out and returned” classified material so there was a paper trail.
When Pence left the White House, Short said White House lawyers returned classified documents to their proper place and all other materials were sent to the archives. “I have no knowledge of (Pence) being in possession of any of those documents upon his completion of service,” Short said.
Short still works alongside the former vice president and said if Pence decides to run for president in 2024, he won’t announce a campaign until next year. Pence will spend the next several months campaigning for likeminded Republicans ahead of the midterms. His memoir, published by a division of ViacomCBS, is scheduled for release on Nov. 15.
Pence and Short were together on Jan. 6, 2021 during the Capitol riot. They took refuge in a parking lot beneath the complex and refused to evacuate, amid mob calls to “Hang Mike Pence” and false presidential claims that Pence could somehow overturn the 2020 election results.
Short said Trump and Pence had some “reconciliatory conversations” following Jan. 6, but those ended in 2021 because the former president continued to assert Pence “had some extraordinary power to overturn an election.”
Whether Pence runs in 2024, Short said, won’t depend on whether Trump is a declared candidate.
- 2022 midterms: “I think that in this moment when you’re 70 days away from a significant midterm election, Republicans will prosper if this becomes a referendum on Joe Biden. If we’re talking about crime in Joe Biden’s America and what’s plaguing our inner cities, if we’re talking about a crisis that Joe Biden’s team has created at the border with 200,000 illegal immigrants every month crossing the border, if we’re talking about inflation created by Joe Biden’s spending, if we’re talking about the reality that we’re now into a recession and likely to go deeper with Chairman Powell’s comments that he’s going to continue raising interest rates, there’ll be more pain ahead, it will be a decisive victory for us in November. Unfortunately, much of August was devoted to talking about the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago and that commentary and in some cases Republicans taking the extra step of suggesting to defund the FBI I think is not beneficial to our electoral prospects.”
- Secret Service on Jan. 6: “I think that they handled themselves remarkably well. I never sensed fear in any way in any of them. What I’ve since had conversations after the fact with some of those agents was the reality that if people in that mob had gotten any closer, there would have been a massacre because they would had no choice but at that point to open fire. And there would have been a lot of lives lost that day, Major, but that was not really secret service lives…they would have been the people in the mob.”
- Politics of abortion: “I think that Republicans should be celebrating life and celebrating that after 50 years of an atrocity in this country that our Supreme Court finally overturned Roe v Wade. I think that in a sheer political sense, I think it’s fair to suggest that Democrats were not enthused about this election prior to that decision, and that there’s probably a reality that it boosted some Democrat activism. But I also think Republicans should probably be the party of life in this country. And after 63 million lives have been snuffed out by abortion, roughly two thirds to three quarters of them African-American children, Republicans should probably be standing for life in this moment. And I think it is disappointing to see some fleeing from that argument, because I think this is what we’ve tried to accomplish for 50 years. And I think now’s our opportunity to take our case to the American people state by state, to talk about why we want to have an America, a culture of life, rather than a culture of death.”
Executive producer: Arden Farhi
Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin
Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com
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