Justice Department prosecutors have contacted representatives of former Vice President Mike Pence to obtain his testimony in the criminal investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to prevent the transfer of power after the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the matter.
Pence’s team has indicated the former vice president is open to discussing a possible deal with the Justice Department to provide testimony, one person said.
The New York Times first reported the sensitization to Pence.
The request came before the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to oversee two investigations related to Trump, including the investigation related to January 6, 2021 and another into the alleged mishandling of classified documents found in Palm Beach. , Florida, at Trump’s home and compound. 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 to CNN, as did a representative for Pence.
Pence recently published a memoir outlining some of his interactions with Trump as the former president sought to overturn the 2020 election results. interactions within the framework of the criminal investigation.
Pence denied an interview request from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, but he allowed key aides to testify in the House investigation, as well as the Justice Department criminal investigation.
CNN previously reported that the Justice Department was successful in getting answers from top Pence advisers Greg Jacob and Marc Short in significant court victories that could make the criminal investigation more likely to go deeper into the inner circle. of Trump.
Jacob’s testimony on Oct. 6 marked the first identifiable moment the confidentiality Trump had tried to maintain around 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 was one of the loudest voices condemning the then-president’s actions after the election, particularly regarding the pressure he and his election lawyer , John Eastman, attempted to exert pressure on Pence to block congressional certification of the presidential vote.
In his memoir, the former vice president wrote that Trump had warned him days before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that he would inspire the hatred of hundreds of thousands of people because he was “too honest” in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results.
Saying Trump was “reckless” with his tweet attacking his vice president that day, Pence criticized the former president over the events surrounding the insurgency. He told Trump right after, he wrote, that he was angry and infuriated by what he saw that day.
Yet Pence said earlier this month that Congress had ‘no right’ to his testimony and was ‘closing the door’ by providing it to the House Select Committee – prompting swift criticism from the House. from the two main members of the committee.
“The select committee has proceeded in a respectful and responsible manner in our engagement with Vice President Pence, so it is disappointing that he misrepresents the nature of our investigation while granting interviews to promote his new book,” the representatives said. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, who serve as the group’s chairman and vice-chairman, in a joint statement at the time.
This story has been updated with additional details.