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Justice Department prosecutors seek testimony from former Vice President Pence in January 6 criminal investigation



CNN

Justice Department prosecutors have contacted representatives of former Vice President Mike Pence to seek their testimony in the criminal investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to impede the transfer of power after the 2020 election, according to people familiar. with the matter.

Pence’s team has indicated that the former vice president is open to discussing a possible agreement with the Justice Department to provide any testimony, one person said.

The New York Times first reported the reach to Pence.

The request came before the Justice Department appointed special counsel to oversee two Trump-related investigations, including the investigation related to January 6, 2021, and another into the alleged mishandling of classified materials found in the home and Trump resort in Palm Beach, Florida. It’s unclear how the appointment of special counsel Jack Smith will affect discussions between the Justice Department and Pence’s team.

The Justice Department declined to comment on CNN, as did a representative for Pence.

Pence recently published a memoir describing some of his interactions with Trump as the former president sought to overturn the 2020 election results. The book’s publication raised expectations that the Justice Department would likely seek information about those interactions as part of the criminal investigation. .

Pence declined an interview request from the investigating House select committee on January 6, but allowed top advisers to provide testimony in the House investigation as well as the Justice Department’s criminal investigation.

CNN previously reported that the Justice Department successfully obtained answers from Pence’s top advisers, Greg Jacob and Marc Short, in major court victories that could make it more likely that the criminal investigation will reach deeper into Trump’s inner circle.

Jacob’s testimony on October 6 marked the first identifiable moment in which the confidentiality Trump had sought to maintain in the West Wing after the 2020 election was breached in the criminal investigation following a court battle. A week after Jacob spoke to the grand jury again, Short had his own grand jury appearance date, CNN reported.

Among a large group of former senior Trump officials, Jacob has been one of the most scathing voices condemning the then-president’s actions after the election, especially with regard to the pressure he and his election attorney, John Eastman, tried to exert. on Pence to block the Congressional certification of the presidential vote.

In his memoir, the former vice president wrote that Trump warned him days before the January 6 attack on the US Capitol that he would inspire the hatred of hundreds of thousands of people because he was “too honest” to try to overturn the election results. of 2020. .

Saying that Trump was “reckless” with his tweet attacking his vice president that day, Pence criticized the former president over the events surrounding the insurrection. He had told Trump directly afterwards, he wrote that he was angry and that what he had seen that day infuriated him.

Still, Pence said earlier this month that Congress “has no right” to his testimony and was “closing the door” on providing it to the House select committee, prompting swift criticism from the committee’s two leading members. .

“The Select Committee has proceeded in a respectful and responsible manner in our engagement with Vice President Pence, so it is disappointing that he is misrepresenting the nature of our investigation by giving interviews to promote his new book,” the representatives said. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, who serve as chair and vice chair of the panel, in a joint statement at the time.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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