The Justice Department wants to speak with Vice President Mike Pence about an effort to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss. According to persons familiar with the outreach, Justice Department investigators want to meet with former Vice President Mike Pence as part of an ongoing investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to reverse his 2020 election result.
Mr. Pence has declined to talk to the congressional committee investigating Mr. Trump’s supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. He has not yet decided whether Justice Department authorities will examine him. According to some acquainted with his thinking, the former vice president views the Justice Department inquiry differently than what he deems a politicized House investigation.
The Department of Justice declined to comment.
The Justice Department investigators’ outreach, first reported by the New York Times, occurred before Attorney General Merrick Garland named a former prosecutor of public corruption and international war crimes as special counsel to supervise investigations into Mr. Trump on Friday. Jack Smith will oversee crucial portions of the expansive investigation into the effort to keep Mr. Trump in office and the inquiry into handling secret documents at Mr. Trump’s Florida resort.
Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Pence to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by Congress. As the crowd destroyed the Capitol, Mr. Trump blasted him in a tweet, claiming the vice president lacked the fortitude to do what should have been done. Mr. Pence described Mr. Trump’s actions that day as irresponsible.
The Justice Department has served dozens of subpoenas on individuals associated with Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn the election, including the sending of fake slates of electors from several swing states to Congress and the planning of the rally preceding the attack on the Capitol, as previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.
According to sources, two key aides to the former vice president, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short and legal counsel Greg Jacob, were summoned to testify before a grand jury this summer.
Mr. Trump has maintained that he committed no wrongdoing and has continued to accuse the Justice Department and the House select committee examining the events of January 6 of conducting a politicized witch hunt.
The House committee had requested Mr. Pence’s testimony, but he has not responded, citing the panel’s predominantly Democratic composition and the separation of powers between the legislative and executive departments.
Mr. Pence stated that he never prevented senior staff members from participating and testifying before the committee. But Congress has no right to hear his testimony, Mr. Pence stated on CBS News earlier this week. Pence explained that due to the U.S. Constitution, we have a separation of powers. He believes it would set a horrible precedent for Congress to invite a United States vice president to testify on White House deliberations.