Former Vice President Mike Pence testified before a federal grand jury on Thursday in Washington, D.C. It was expected that his testimony would be about a special council investigation into the role played by former President Donald Trump during the Capitol riot on January 6th. Special Counsel Jack Smith was specifically tasked with investigating the blocking of certification of 2020 election results. Smith is also a special counsel in the case of the presidential records that led to the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.
In November, the Department of Justice issued a statement regarding Smith’s nomination.
Jack Smith, a former Justice Department career prosecutor who was also the former chief prosecutor of the Special Court in The Hague and served as the former Chief Prosecutor, has been appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to be the Special Counsel for two ongoing criminal investigations. In court filings filed in the District of Columbia, it is described that the first investigation concerns whether anyone or any entity illegally interfered with either the transfer of power after the presidential election of 2020 or the certification of Electoral College votes held on or around January 6, 2021. Second, the Southern District of Florida is investigating the possibility of obstruction of the investigation of classified documents and presidential records.
Pence has made public statements previously about Trump and January 6, both to the media and published in his memoir titled, “So Help Me God.” Pence, thus far, has offered only vague reflections to the public on his relationship with Trump, before, during, and after the election—and the contentious events of that day. He has characterized their personal dynamics as the two men having “differences that day.”
Shannon Beam, Fox News, December 20, 2022:
In the days before January 6, I and the President had a disagreement. I will always believe I did what I was supposed to do that day under the Constitution and God’s grace. I upheld a peaceful transfer of power. But I was furious. I was both angry and frustrated about our differences that day.
Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who oversees the grand jury investigation, ordered Pence to comply with the subpoena for testimony in March. This order is still under seal as it relates to a grand jury’s matter. Pence’s lawyers had argued previously that, as Vice President, he was entitled to special immunity clauses in relation to legislative processes. Judge Boasberg’s ruling was reported as a small victory for Pence. He ruled that he has partial immunity due to his constitutional role within the legislature. However, he would not be protected from testifying regarding “illegalities”, concerning Trump and the 6th of January.
Trump tried to block the order as well, but a federal appeals court rejected his appeal on Wednesday.
Amid increased security at the courthouse, Pence arrived around 9 a.m. in a motorcade of black SUVs. The former VP used a garage entrance that prevents witnesses from being seen in public areas of the building as they headed to the grand jury rooms on the third floor.
Pence’s testimonies come at a time when the jury of a federal D.C. court is deliberating over the fates of five Proud Boys who were charged with a seditious conspiracy in a trial that took place on January 6, 2017. The jury began deliberations on Wednesday after the closing arguments concluded on Tuesday. In closing arguments, several defense attorneys blamed Trump for his remarks to the crowd on the 6th of January.
Nayib Hassan, the attorney for Enrique Tarrio said that his client had been used as a scapegoat, telling jurors:
“It was Donald Trump’s words. It was his motive. What happened on the 6th of January in your beautiful and amazing city was caused by his anger.”
The former president held a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday, his first appearance since President Joe Biden announced his reelection bid.
At this time, there are no details on Pence’s testimonies. He left the federal courthouse at around 4:30 pm.
As more information becomes available, we will update this story.