Mike Pence testifies before jury in investigation against Donald Trump

Former US vice president Mike Pence speaks at the National Review Institute’s 2023 Ideas Summit on March 31, 2023, in Washington, DC. — AFP

Former US vice president Mike Pence testified before the grand jury on Thursday in the case by the special counsel against former US president Donald Trump for sabotaging the election results of 2020 and the Capitol Hill incident of January 6, NBC reported citing sources.

Pence’s testimony holds great importance as he was the president of the Senate at that time and could provide further details about what was Trump thinking that led to the Capitol Hill attack on January 6, 2021.

In his memoir and a detailed article published in Wall Street Journal, he wrote about his interactions with the former president, though some details were not clear.

Former US vice president Mike Pence (L) listens as former US President Donald Trump speaks during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. — AFP/File
Former US vice president Mike Pence (L) listens as former US President Donald Trump speaks during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. — AFP/File

Pence, 63, parted ways with Trump over the January 6 riots.

The investigation team led by Special Counsel Jack Smith is focused on Trump’s attempts to prevent the election ratification results.

The former vice president arrived with increased security at the federal courthouse in Washington.

In March, a federal judge ordered Mike Pence to testify before the court via subpoena. 

Trump, 76, in order to refrain Pence to testify invoked special privilege but failed to block the testimony. The appeal by Trump was rejected on Wednesday by a federal appeals court.

While talking about the testimony of his former vice president, Trump told NBC News: “I don’t know what he said, but I have a lot of confidence in him.”

Pence testified before the court in which the members of the Proud Boys — the far-right group that was ordered by Donald Trump to remain on standby before the 2020 polls — were also awaiting the jury’s decision in their case of sedition.

In the concluding arguments, the lawyer for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio said that the federal government was trying to make Tarrio a “scapegoat” for Trump, whom he blamed for the attack on the Capitol.

While responding to a subpoena and his insistence on not testifying, Pence’s team maintained that he was protected by the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause, which details that lawmakers cannot be forced to testify about legislative activity. 

His team said the clause should apply to him because he was acting in his role as president of the Senate when January 6 unfolded.

However, in a ruling federal judge said despite the clause, “it does not prevent him from testifying about alleged illegal behaviour by Trump.”

Last month, Pence maintained that he has nothing to hide.

He went on: “I believe we did our duty that day under the Constitution of the United States, and in this matter, I thought it was important that we stand on that constitutional principle again.”

He also noted: “But we’re currently speaking to our attorneys about the proper way forward.”

“President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence said at the Gridiron Dinner for politicians and journalists in March.

“And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable,” he added. 

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