Former Vice President Mike Pence Testifies Before Federal Grand Jury in Trump’s Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election
Former Vice President Mike Pence appeared before a federal grand jury on Thursday as part of the special counsel investigation into former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss and remain in power. Pence was subpoenaed by special counsel Jack Smith in February as federal prosecutors sought to question him about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Trump had tried to pressure Pence into using his role as president of the Senate to block the certification of the Electoral College results, but Pence refused. The subpoena was challenged by attorneys representing Pence and Trump, resulting in a partial victory for Pence. The chief judge of the grand jury ruled that Pence was not required to provide answers regarding his position as president of the Senate on January 6th. Pence testified for over seven hours before the grand jury, according to sources with knowledge of his testimony.
The government has been trying to get Pence’s testimony for months, starting with requests from the Justice Department last year and then through a grand jury subpoena issued by Smith, who inherited the complicated criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to stay in power. Smith is also investigating Trump for mishandling the documents and obstructing its investigation, especially by defying a subpoena demanding the return of classified documents. Prosecutors have been trying to get Pence’s testimony for months, starting with requests from the Justice Department last year and then through a grand jury subpoena issued by Smith, who inherited the sprawling criminal investigation.
During the day of and the day before the Capitol attack, Pence was one of the select few individuals who engaged in personal conversations with Trump. The House January 6 select committee investigators determined that the incident was a conspiracy that the ex-president had some foreknowledge of. Investigators investigating the US Capitol riot have taken a particular interest in the conversations between Trump and Pence in the days surrounding the event. In his book, the former vice president revealed that Trump had referred to him as a “wimp” during a call on the morning of the insurrection.
Pence's appearance before the grand jury comes after a federal appeals court rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to block him from testifying. The United States. Despite Trump's appeal to halt a lower court decision ordering Pence to testify, the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington declined to block Pence's subpoena. Although the decision is confidential, the rejection of Trump's urgent request was mentioned in the court records. On Wednesday, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied the former president's legal team's attempt to prevent Pence from being obligated to appear. Earlier this month, a judge from the federal district rejected Trump's argument that Pence should not testify based on executive privilege.
Despite Emmet Flood arguing for a broader ruling, Boasberg's decision was more limited. Nevertheless, Pence chose not to contest the verdict. It's unclear when Pence will appear before the grand jury, but Trump’s previous emergency appeals, which have nearly all failed when it comes to similar sealed orders, have occurred just days before witnesses were scheduled to appear. Since Pence is precluded from testifying about any preparations for his role as presiding officer of the Senate, it remains unclear how illuminating his testimony might be for prosecutors.
Pence is considering running for the White House in 2024, potentially leading to a clash with Trump. Trump has already announced his candidacy and is currently leading the national polls among GOP primary voters by a significant margin. Pence has reiterated his belief that the Republican Party will have superior choices than his previous running mate, and he has indicated that he will announce his own intentions for 2024 before June. Pence has asserted that he has no secrets to conceal from investigators regarding the aftermath of the 2020 election. Last month during an interview with Newsmax, Pence affirmed that he has no secrets to conceal.
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