The Justice Department is asking Pence to answer questions as part of the Jan. 6 investigation

Suspension

Former Vice President Mike Pence has been asked by Justice Department prosecutors to answer questions as part of their extended investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The unofficial request came in recent weeksBefore last Friday, when Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee aspects of the Jan. 6 investigation as well as a separate probe into former President Donald Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified records at his home after he left the presidency.

One person familiar with the discussion said Pence had not decided how to handle the request to respond to questions about his interactions with Trump near the end of their time in the White House. Both people familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.

Pence has not officially issued a subpoena, one of the people said, describing talks with the Justice Department as being in a preliminary stage. Both people He said the department has reached out to Pence’s attorney Emmett Flood, who represents the former vice president, on the matter.

From Europe, Trump’s special counsel takes charge of the Mar-a-Lago investigation, parts of the investigation on Jan. 6

The New York Times was first to report on the former vice president’s extraordinary request by the Justice Department: that he shares his private conversations with the former vice president and de facto president and party leader, even as Trump launched a new campaign for white. House and Pence are also considering the 2024 bid.

The Justice Department has already engaged in lengthy negotiations with other Trump advisers over their interview requests, addressing issues of executive privilege. Pence’s request to move sensitive conversations with the president could spark a new fight over the issue.

The move to speak to Pence is an important step in the drawn-out investigation. Garland faced intense criticism in 2021 and early 2022 for appearing slow to investigate the role of Trump and his top aides in the effort to reverse the presidential election. The department’s investigation expanded in March to look at those who planned and funded the rally before the Capitol riot and requested phone records of key players in and around the Trump White House, including his chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Later this spring and summer, the Justice Department sought vast amounts of additional information, including contacts with several top Trump advisers and dozens of others involved in efforts to submit bogus rolls of pro-Trump voters in Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and other states. President Biden won it.

Pence aides, including Chief of Staff Mark Short, answered hours of questions before a Washington-based grand jury on Jan. 6, when a rioting mob left a Trump rally and stormed the Capitol, as well as the events leading up to it. Until that day, Trump’s interactions with Pence and his White House team. Short appeared twice before the grand jury.

At the same time, the Department of Justice is gathering witnesses and evidence in its Mar-a-Lago Documents investigation, which focuses on potential mishandling of top secret information, and obstruction and destruction of government property. And in Georgia, Attorney General Fannie Willis (D) is conducting a separate investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to reverse the election results in that state.

Sen. Lindsey Graham testified before a Georgia grand jury in the 2020 election investigation

In interviews for his latest book, “God Help Me,” Pence blasted Trump for his actions, which Pence said were “reckless” and “threatening” him, his family, and everyone in the Capitol. In an ABC “World News Tonight” interview published Nov. 13, Pence called out Trump for his words urging his supporters on Jan. 6 and his tweet that his vice president didn’t have the guts to block the testimony and “do what should have been done.” with it “.

“I mean, the president’s words were reckless,” Pence said in an introductory video. “It was clear that he decided to be part of the problem.” But Pence also said in another interview that speaking to a congressional committee to investigate the events leading up to the attack on the Capitol — including Trump’s pressure on Pence — would undermine the separation of powers between branches of government.

People familiar with the matter said Pence did not appear before the Jan. 6 commission and criticized its formation, even as some of his top aides showed up and blessed their backs.

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