Mike Pence acknowledged over the weekend that he indeed gave testimony to the federal grand jury that just recently handed down an indictment against his former boss Donald Trump over allegations that he illegally tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Pence, who served as Trump’s vice president, said he only testified to the panel once he received “clarification” over the protections the Constitution provided to him as part of his role as the president of the Senate. He was serving in that honorary role on the day of the Capitol riot – January 6, 2021 – overseeing the certification of the Electoral College votes that Congress was doing that day.
Appearing on the “State of the Union” program on CNN Sunday, Pence said he only agreed to testify once he was informed of the protections he enjoyed from the Constitution.
Even though he testified to the grand jury, the former vice president says that he has no immediate plans to testify against Trump during the actual trial. Pence said to Dana Bash, the host of the CNN show:
“Well, I testified before the grand jury under a subpoena after we got clarification from the court about protections that I have under the Constitution as the president of the Senate. But, I have no plans to testify [at the trial].
“But, look, we’ll always comply with the law.”
That last part reveals that even though Pence doesn’t seem to be chomping at the bit to testify during Trump’s trial – or that he would push to do so – he would comply with any subpoena if he were forced to testify.
He reiterated that point during a CBS News show that aired on Sunday as well when he said:
“I have no plans to testify, but people can be confident we’ll obey the law. We’ll respond to the call of the law, if it comes, and we’ll just tell the truth.”
Pence was seen as an integral witness in the grand jury investigation because of the direct interactions he had with Trump on the days leading up to the Capitol riot, as well as the day of and the days that followed. Even though the relationship between Pence and Trump deteriorated significantly after the 2020 presidential election, the former vice president is still likely seen as a potential key witness for the prosecution as they seek to prove that Trump knew he lost the election but spread lies about it anyway that ultimately led to the insurrection.
While Pence has criticized the efforts of the Department of Justice to investigate Trump’s actions as criminal, he has used the last week since the indictment was announced to separate himself from his former boss.
Both Trump and Pence are GOP candidates for president, with Trump still being the far-and-away leader among all Republican candidates.
Recently, trying to create a separate identity for himself as a candidate, Pence has spoken out against Trump’s actions about the 2020 presidential election. He’s also increasingly defended the decisions and actions he took in resisting the pressure from his former boss to comply with his wishes and do everything he could to keep the Trump administration in power.