Pence Testifies Before Special Counsel Grand Jury

April 28, 2023

Former Vice President Pence testified Thursday before the federal grand jury that’s been convened in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of former President Trump’s role in the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection and attempt to overturn the 2020 President election.

Pence testified less than 24 hours after a judge blocked Trump’s appeal to block his former Vice President from testifying.

It’s unclear how much time Pence sat for questioning, but it could have been roughly seven hours. Two black SUVs, including his security detail, arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington DC around 9am and did not leave until around 4:30pm. 

Judge James Boasburg, who oversees jury proceedings as chief judge of U.S. Dictrict Court for Washington, brushed off reporters’ questions for details. 

When Trump was asked by reporters at a campaign event on Thursday in New Hampshire about Pence’s testimony, the former President replied, “I don’t know what he said, but I have a lot of confidence in him.”

While Trump had cited executive privilege in his failed attempt to block Pence’s testimony, Pence had earlier failed in an attempt to fight the special counsel’s subpoena as well, but he had cited the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution, which essentially states that speech inside the Capitol by Senators and Representatives is privileged and “shall not be questioned in any other place.” 

Pence was acting in his role as then-President of the Senate on January 6 to certify the 2020 electoral college count that Trump lost to President Biden. 

At his “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on that day, Trump said to the gathered crowd on the National Mall, “I hope Mike Pence is going to do the right thing” and refuse to certify the results. 

Pence was 40 feet from the mob when he fled from the rioters inside the Capitol building who were shouting, “Hang Mike Pence!”

Four people died during the insurrection, and five police officers died of various causes following the attack.

“President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence said during last month’s Gridiron Dinner for politicians and journalists. “And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

At the time, it was the sharpest condemnation by the former Vice President of his former boss regarding the events of January 6 or anything else.

While the chief judge ruled last month that Pence must adhere to the special counsel’s subpoena, Boasberg did say that Pence could still decline to answer questions related to his actions on the day of January 6 itself. 

Smith is overseeing both the federal investigation into Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection as well as Trump’s mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving office. The veteran prosecutor was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November.

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