The Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence for its investigation into Donald Trump’s attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 presidential election, according to several media reports.
Sources familiar with the matter confirmed the DOJ’s efforts to The New York Times, CNN and ABC News on Wednesday. All reported that Pence, who has developed a fraught relationship with Trump after refusing to support his election fraud claims, is open to the request.
DOJ investigators reportedly contacted Pence before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel ― Jack Smith, who once led the public integrity section ― to take over the probe last week. As of now, Pence has not been subpoenaed.
Though he is reportedly open to testifying before the DOJ, Pence has refused to participate in a similar investigation led by a House select committee, saying last week that Congress “has no right to my testimony.”
Trump may seek legal avenues to stop Pence from testifying by invoking executive privilege, which at the very least, could stall the DOJ’s efforts to convene with him.
Pence could be a key witness in the investigations into the efforts by Trump and his allies to subvert democracy, including a plan to create a fake slate of pro-Trump electors in several states Biden won in 2020, because of his close communications with the ex-president in the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, when an angry mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol with Trump’s encouragement. Pence detailed many of their exchanges in his recently released book, saying Trump summoned him to meet with attorney John Eastman, who then pressured Pence to block the electoral college certification process in Congress.
Wednesday’s news comes the week after Pence shared he’s giving
“prayerful consideration” to running for president in 2024 ― a race for which Trump has already announced his candidacy. Pence said there are “better choices” than Trump for president last week when asked if he’d be a good presidential candidate again.