Vice President Pence on Thursday urged special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to bring his investigation into Russian election interference to a close, saying “it’s time to wrap it up.”
Pence’s remarks echoed calls by President Trump and his lawyers, who have argued that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and that Mueller is now seeking to trap Trump into committing perjury about his actions related to the investigation.
Pence was asked Thursday by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell if he believes the investigation is a “hoax,” as Trump has repeatedly characterized it.
“Our administration has been fully cooperating with the special counsel, and we’ll continue to,” Pence said. “What I think is that it’s been about a year since this investigation began. Our administration has provided more than a million documents. We’ve fully cooperated in it, and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up.”
Pence added: “And I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.”
Pence was interviewed at Joint Base Andrews, where he and Trump early Thursday greeted three Americans returning from North Korea after being held in custody.
Pence declined to comment on Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, who is at the center of a widening investigation of his business practices.
“What I can say is that that private matter is something that I don’t have any knowledge about,” Pence said. “I think the White House issued a statement saying the same.”
Pence’s remarks about Mueller drew flak later Thursday morning from Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“VP Pence has now brought his sycophancy to a whole new level,” Schiff wrote on Twitter.
In arguing the investigation should continue, Schiff cited unanswered questions about what Trump’s senior transition officials knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with the then-Russian ambassador, as well as “new revelations every day.”
Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions.