Prosecutors seek Mike Pence’s testimony at January 6 grand jury inquest
Pence was the target of a last-ditch Trump campaign before Jan. 6, when Pence had to preside over the final stage of the electoral process: the counting of electoral votes by Congress.
Two of Pence’s top aides – Chief of Staff Marc Short and Chief Counsel Greg Jacob – testified before the grand jury investigating the case and were the subject of a secret court ruling that dismissed the charges. Trump’s privilege claims. Short and Jacob were also two of the most crucial witnesses on the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, before which Pence declined to appear.
In testimony released by the committee, Jacob described helping Pence fend off Trump and attorney John Eastman, who were leaning on Pence in the days leading up to Jan. 6. During testimony before the select committee, Short and Jacob declined to discuss their direct interactions with Trump, citing privilege issues. But it appears prosecutors have managed to pierce that veil and may now have access to more detailed information about the build-up to Jan. 6.
There is at least one episode that day that only Pence can have direct knowledge of. Trump called Pence at 11:20 a.m. on January 6, and witnesses in the Oval Office described Trump as harshly reprimanding his vice president in an effort to convince him to try to overturn the election later that day. How Pence reacted to the browbeat remains a mystery. Short and Jacob said Pence left the room during that call and never informed them of the exchange. In fact, Jacob told the select committee that Pence, in practice, never disclosed details of his private conversations with Trump.
After his call with Trump, Pence headed to the Capitol where he formally announced he would refuse to go along with Trump’s efforts, further inflaming a crowd that had gathered outside at Trump’s request and would compel soon Pence and lawmakers to flee for security reasons.