Former Vice President Mike Pence testified behind closed doors Thursday before the grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, according to reports from Reuters and other media.
Pence was subpoenaed by special counsel Jack Smith in February after months of negotiations between prosecutors and the former vice president’s legal team. Smith is leading two Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal investigations into Trump, including the former president’s efforts to stay in office after losing to President Joe Biden. Smith is also leading the Justice Department’s investigation of classified documents found at Trump’s Florida property in August.
Previously, Trump tried to block his former vice president from testifying in the special counsel’s investigation, arguing that the information sought was protected by executive privilege. according to a report on CNN on Wednesday, however, a federal judge denied Trump’s request to stop the subpoena.
A source close to the matter told Reuters that a heightened security presence raided the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, ahead of Pence’s arrival on Thursday. political added in your report that the former vice president was escorted to the main entrances of the court without being seen by the cameras.
Pence’s grand jury appearance was also confirmed by two sources who spoke with political Thursday, though the people were not authorized to publicly discuss the vice president’s testimony.
According to media reports, Pence spent more than five hours in front of the grand jury. The former vice president is considered a key witness in Smith’s investigation into Trump’s actions leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, including pressing Pence to throw out the 2020 election results while Congress certified the Electoral College votes. Trump repeatedly claimed that Pence had the power to block congressional certification progress, though Pence has disputed the argument.
Pence also attempted to fight the Justice Department subpoena, and was granted limitations on what could be discussed during his testimony by the judge overseeing the grand jury. According The New York Timespence it was not forced to discuss any matters related to his role as president of the Senate on January 6, but he did have to testify about possible criminal actions by Trump.
Thursday’s testimony comes as Pence is exploring a challenge to his former running mate in the 2024 presidential election. Trump is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in several hypothetical matchups, even after being impeached last month. of 34 felonies in Manhattan court.
While speaking with CBS News’ Take on the Nation Over the weekend, Pence said he would make an official decision on his presidential bid “well before the end of June.”
news week has reached out to Trump’s press team by email for comment.