By Avery Lotz, CNN
(CNN) — Former Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday denounced the debunked conspiracy theory that the FBI instigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” just one day after the third anniversary of the attack, Pence said “We’ve been assured again and again that it was not the case.”
“I just must tell you, having been there that day, to see people literally breaking windows, ransacking the Capitol, it just infuriated me. I remember thinking ‘not this, not here, not at the United States Capitol,’” he said.
Pence added he is “very grateful” for the efforts of the FBI’s efforts to arrest those who “ransacked our Capitol and did violence against police officers that day,” demanding those who participated in the attack be held to “the fullest extent of the law.”
The attack, he said, “should never have happened. As I’ve said many times before, the former president’s words that day were reckless. I believe history will judge his role in that.”
A recent Washington Post poll showed a third of Republicans believe the conspiracy that the FBI instigated the January 6 attack – a claim that former President Donald Trump echoed just days ago.
“They simply need to look to the facts that the Capitol Hill Police endured great hardship and great harm,” Pence said of those who believe such falsehoods.
The former vice president said the upcoming Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary offered Republicans the chance to “give our party a fresh start and give us new leadership to lead our party forward in the election and beyond.”
During the Capitol attack, Pence was rushed out of the Senate chamber as rioters calling for his death stormed the halls of Congress as Trump remained at the White House watching the insurrection unfurl.
The two men did not speak for several days after the attack and have since gone their separate ways – including on Inauguration Day for President Joe Biden, when Pence remained in Washington to attend Biden’s swearing-in ceremony and Trump left for Florida before the ceremony began.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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