Marc Short, former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, testified last week under subpoena before a federal grand jury investigating the January 6th insurrection and Donald Trump’s phony elector scheme to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, ABC News revealed today.
Short is the highest ranking former Trump administration official to be known to have testified in the Department of Justice’s opaque investigation of the circumstances surrounding the insurrection and storming of the Capitol last year.
According to two people familiar with the Justice Department proceedings, Short testified for two to three hours before the grand jury on Friday.
While the content of Short’s testimony to the grand jury is still under seal, the former Pence chief of staff has previously given sworn testimony to the House Select Committee covering much of the same territory as the DOJ’s criminal investigation.
In Short’s congressional appearance, he gave the committee details of the pressure that Donald Trump exerted upon his vice president to unsuccessfully convince Pence to reject the valid electors from contested swing states and replace them with phony electors who would keep Trump in power.
According to The New York Times, Short also “also informed Mr. Pence’s lead Secret Service agent on Jan. 5, 2021, that Mr. Trump was about to turn publicly on Mr. Pence, potentially creating a security risk.”
Speculation has been rampant that this was among the reasons that then-Vice President Pence refused to join the Secret Service in the vehicle that was about to evacuate him from the Capitol as Trump’s MAGA rioters chanted “hang Mike Pence” and erected a gallows on the Capitol grounds.
The news of Short’s subpoena and testimony comes as Attorney General Merrick Garland has faced harsh criticism for the slow pace of the criminal investigation of the involvement of the upper echelons of the Trump administration, particularly after the public revelations of incriminating evidence uncovered by the House Select Committee’s parallel investigation.
Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special prosecutor and NYU law professor, explained the significance of the information that Short could provide to federal prosecutors,
5. A key that unlocks the door to criminal obstruction of the congressional proceedings is whether the individual (eg Trump-Meadows-Eastman) knew Pence did not have authority to block the certification of electoral votes.
Short has direct information that Meadows knew.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) July 25, 2022
With the Justice Department still mum about the progress of its own probe at this point, the public will have to continue waiting to see who — and how — the DOJ will hold accountable for one of the worst political crimes in our nation’s history.
Original reporting by Katherine Faulders, Alexander Mallin, and John Santucci at ABC News.