Pence testifies before grand jury as former US VP


Former Vice President Mike Pence has testified before a federal grand jury as part of the US Department of Justice’s investigation into efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The testimony likely provides prosecutors with a first-person account of conversations and events leading up to the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Pence’s appearance before the grand jury is significant, as he was once a loyal supporter of Trump and is now hinting at a potential run against him in the 2024 presidential race.

Pence was subpoenaed earlier this year, but Trump’s lawyers objected, citing executive privilege concerns. Lawyers for Pence also challenged the subpoena, arguing that he was protected from being forced to testify about the electoral vote counting process because he was serving as president of the Senate at the time. However, a judge in March refused to block Pence’s appearance, though he did side with the former vice president’s constitutional claims that he could not be forced to answer questions about anything related to his role presiding over the Senate’s certification of votes on January 6.

Pence has previously spoken about Trump’s pressure campaign to reject Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory in the days leading up to January 6. In his book, So Help Me God, Pence described how Trump endangered his family and everyone else who was at the Capitol that day and how history will hold him “accountable”. The Justice Department’s special counsel leading the investigation, Jack Smith, has sought the testimony of a long list of former Trump aides, including ex-White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former adviser Stephen Miller.

Smith is also investigating Trump over the potential mishandling of classified documents at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, as well as possible efforts to obstruct that probe. Trump’s lawyers in that investigation have called the Department of Justice investigation “severely botched” and “politically infected” and have urged the House Intelligence Committee to step in by holding hearings and introducing legislation to correct classified document handling procedures in the White House and standardise procedures for presidents and vice presidents when they leave office.

It is unclear when either of the special counsel’s investigations will end or who, if anyone, will be charged.