January 29, 2023

CRUCIAL EVIDENCE: Pence testimony sought by DOJ Special Counsel

PENCE SIEVE: Classified docs found at former VP's Indiana home

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Special counsel Jack L. Smith would like a word with former Vice President Mike Pence.

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The newly appointed prosecutor in the Justice Department’s investigation into Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results is wasting no time picking up where Attorney General Merrick Garland left off.

The agency wants to question Pence about what he witnessed during the attempted coup plot.

According to sources close to the matter, the former Veep is more amenable to sitting down with the Department of Justice than than he is with the Congressional committee investigating the January 6th Capitol attack.

Pence recently and brazenly told CBS News contributor Margaret Brennan “Congress has no right to my testimony.”

But Congress does – despite Pence’s claims to the contrary.

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The former Vice President plays a central role, though unwittingly, in the Select Committee’s investigation.

Trump’s highly aggressive campaign to convince his second-in-command to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

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But the DOJ’s investigation is criminal – with potential legal consequences–something Pence recognizes.

“The Justice Department’s criminal investigation is different from the inquiry by the House Jan. 6 committee,”  The New York Times wrote.

Congress’ probe is civil in nature and while they can perform the groundwork, and make a criminal referral to the Dept. of Justice, the panel has no real prosecutorial or legal powers.

No subpoena has been issued as of yet, but the former VP and DOJ are reportedly in early talks.

Securing Mike Pence’s testimony would be a huge step in the agency’s investigation.

Present during key discussions prior to the attempted coup, Pence would be the senior most member of Trump’s inner circle to share what he knows, begging the question – will Trump try and exert executive privilege to prevent the man he targeted for refusing to go along with the ex-President’s illegal, and diabolical plan to impede the democratic process?

Trump’s previous attempt to block the testimony of top Pence aides Marc Short, the Vice President’s chief of staff, and general counsel Greg Jacob failed.

Both Short and Jacob were deposed in close-door grand jury interviews.

Though sources say Pence is open to interviewing with the Justice Department, his word isn’t exactly binding.

In August he hinted that he would consider appearing before the House Select committee if properly subpoenaed. “If there was an invitation to participate, I’d consider it,” Pence said then – despite expressing “concerns,” that doing so would be a violation of the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

“I don’t want to prejudge. If ever any formal invitation came,” Pence said, “we’d give it due consideration.”

Except that wasn’t true.

While promoting his book, So Help Me God, Pence said unequivocally in interviews that the “door was closed” on testifying before Congress.

However, according to people familiar with his thinking, Pence sees the Justice Department inquiry differently given that it is a criminal investigation, The New York Times reported.

The Vice President is being represented by D.C. heavy hitter Emmet Flood, who served as senior Trump White House counsel during the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Pence was a potential key witness in the obstruction investigation but was adamant in his support for his boss and was never called.

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The DOJ is an arm of the executive branch, so Pence will have to find a new excuse to wriggle out of giving testimony, as his “separation of powers,” argument will do him no good in this instance.

With rumors that the devout Evangelical is considering throwing his hat in the 2024 ring to be the GOP’s presidential nominee, he may want to think twice about stonewalling the Justice Department’s criminal investigation.

Trump has already announced his candidacy – an indictment could change that.

Original reporting by Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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