WATCH: Ex-Pence Chief of Staff Marc Short Reluctantly Admits He Alerted Secret Service On Jan 5 Because of Trump
Former VP Chief of Staff Marc Short refused to believe then-President Donald Trump said then-Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hanged, and reluctantly admitted he alerted Secret Service to the security threat posed by Trump’s actions on January 5.
Short — who served a brief stint as a CNN contributor between jobs in Trump’s White House — was a guest on Wednesday’s edition of CNN’s The Situation Room on the eve of the Jan. 6 committee hearing that will focus on Trump’s pressure campaign against Pence. Short was oddly contentious during the interview, given the nature of the information he gave.
For example, anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Short about Trump’s reaction to chants of “Hang Mike Pence!” — which committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney quoted from testimony that hasn’t been released yet — and Short flatly refused to believe it.
“We did find out in the course of the testimony that was released by the select committee in recent days that the then-President Trump watched that and said Pence basically deserved to be hanged,” Blitzer said after playing a clip of said chant, and asked Short “When did you discover that?”
“Well — Wolf, I’m not even yet convinced of that. I know what the committee said. I also know the president denied that,” Short said, to which Blitzer protested “That was Liz Cheney, the vice-chair.”
“I understand. I understand. And I saw the president denied ever saying that,” Short said, and after extolling Pence’s working relationship with Trump, added “I’m not going to give much credence to some of those reports.”
And when Blitzer asked about the bombshell report that Short warned Pence‘s Secret Service chief of the “security risk” presented by Trump the day before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Short took a long and reluctant walk to admitting he had:
BLITZER: “The New York Times,” as you know, reported that you actually warned the Secret Service the day before the January 6 attack that the president was going to turn on the vice president, Mike Pence, and it could create what was described in “The New York Times” as a security concern.
First of all, is that report true?
SHORT: I want to be clear that Tim, the lead agent for Secret Service, Max, the deputy, and that whole team, Wolf, deserve medals for their service and what they did to protect the vice president and his family that day.
And I say that because they had a lot of additional complications. One, it was at the peak of COVID. A lot of agents were out.
Two, something people haven’t really focused on this is, at that point, Tim is both securing the vice president and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris. They have divided roles. And three, there were plenty of people in Capitol Police who deserve recommendation for their heroism that day, but it’s also clear that Capitol Police was woefully unprepared for this.
And it put even a more burden on the Secret Service. And so, I believe that they all do deserve medals for what they did. But on the 5th, I did talk to Tim, because, at that point…
BLITZER: You spoke to the Secret Service?
SHORT: At that point…
BLITZER: And what was your point?
SHORT: At the point, it became clear that the disagreements that had been discussed, I think, in private…
BLITZER: Between the president and the vice president?
SHORT: And the staffs — were about to become far more public. And I think, with thousands of people descending upon Washington, with hopes of a different outcome, I just thought it was important that they be alerted to that.
But I did not have any specific intelligence. I did not have any knowledge that the Capitol would be attacked the way it was.
BLITZER: But did you think the vice president of the United States was in danger?
SHORT: I thought it was important at least to let the Secret Service know that it was about to become a much more public disagreement.
BLITZER: You were concerned about his security?
SHORT: Well, I mean, I wouldn’t have — I wouldn’t have said something otherwise, right?
BLITZER: And I just want to be specific.
You were concerned about the vice president’s security because of what the president was saying?
SHORT: Because it was about to become a much more public occasion.
And I knew that the president was about to express that in a more public manner, that, again, I’m not sure the consequences of that were thought through by people around the president, with thousands of people coming to Washington.
BLITZER: Did the vice president believe that the president, his boss, was endangering him by his remarks?
SHORT: I think that the vice president felt secure with the Secret Service around him.
I don’t think any of us ever envisioned what would happen on January 6, Wolf. So…
BLITZER: You didn’t envision that there would be “Hang Mike Pence” and gallows up on Capitol Hill.
SHORT: No, of course not. Of course not.
BLITZER: That was not in your…
SHORT: So, no, there was not something that we could have anticipated like that.
BLITZER: Yes, it’s a tough situation.
Watch above via CNN.
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