“I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee,” Thompson told CNN in an interview Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Pence declined to comment on Thompson’s remarks.
Thompson added that the panel has not officially asked Pence to speak with them, but did not rule out making that ask in the future.
“We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept. Everything is under consideration.”
Thompson made note that Pence’s decision to disregard the pressure campaign he was under put him at extreme risk from the rioters on January 6.
“His life was at risk,” Thompson said. “There were people who had gallows erected on the lawn of the Capitol ostensibly to hang the vice president. There were people on them threatening the life of the vice president. The vice president could not leave the Capitol of the United States because of the riot. He was sequestered in an area in the Capitol. So his life was in danger.”
Thompson also raised how threats to Pence’s life did not seem to motivate Trump to act, further calling into question why Trump took so long to respond to the riot.
“I think it’s important that the public needs to know this was the no. 2 person in government,” he added. “And for our President, at that time, to take 187 minutes to say the rioters you need to stop and go home because my vice president is in the building and his life is in danger is an absolute shame.”
The chairman said they are interested in the evacuation plan for Pence and specifically the role his Secret Service detail played.
“We’d like to know what his security detail told him was going on,” he said.
Short’s assistance signals a greater openness among Pence’s inner circle. One source told CNN the committee is getting “significant cooperation with Team Pence,” even if the committee has not openly discussed that. Another source told CNN that Short’s help is an example of the “momentum” the investigation is enjoying behind the scenes.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, some Pence aides have been proving more willing to engage with the committee than previously made public.
Thompson confirmed to CNN in November the committee was in the process of reaching out to Pence associates but said their efforts had been met with mixed success.
“Well, yes and no,” Thompson replied when asked if Pence associates had been cooperative. “I don’t want to just say yes, when there have been some people who clearly have said no. So we’ve had, you know, people on both sides.”