Former Vice President Mike Pence has insisted that his decision to rebuke Donald Trump’s effort to undermine the 2020 election was a direct result of his loyalty to the Constitution, but federal investigators have reportedly pressured Pence into revealing exactly what was going through his mind in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
According to a report from ABC News, Pence, a key figure in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case against Trump, has repeatedly grilled Pence on the veracity of several anecdotes from his 2022 book So Help Me God, and the implosion of his relationship with Trump in the final days of the administration.
Sources told ABC News that investigators took particular interest in contemporaneous notes Pence produced from the events leading up to Jan. 6. In one document, Pence wavered in his commitment to preside over the certification of the Electoral College vote, writing that there were “too many questions” and that his participation in his mandated duties could be “too hurtful to my friend.”
Pence reportedly insisted to investigators that his “only higher loyalty was to God and the Constitution,” not Trump.
Sources told ABC News that the former vice president was even questioned on his decisions to place commas in certain spots. In one excerpt from Pence’s book, he describes telling Trump: “You know, I don’t think I have the authority to change the [election] outcome.”
The former vice president reportedly told Smith’s team that no comma should have been placed in the sentence and that the interaction was intended as a rebuke to Trump about the limitations of Pence’s powers.
Despite his attempts to resist subpoenas from investigators, Pence’s cooperation has enraged Trump. The former president frequently berates and attacks his ex-VP at public events, and has turned him into the key figure who foiled his efforts to remain in power. There’s a chance Pence will be put on the stand when Trump’s federal election meddling case goes to trial in March, and the former president’s legal team has hinted at their strategy to delegitimize Pence’s testimony.
On Monday, they submitted a filing arguing that Pence was motivated by the potential of criminal charges “to curry favor with authorities by providing information that is consistent with the Biden Administration’s preferred, and false, narrative regarding this case.” The filing further requested that the special counsel’s office disclose information relating to their decision not to charge Pence, assuming such an indictment was ever on the table.
Trump’s attempts to delegitimize Pence are part of a full-court press by the former president’s legal team to keep their client out of jail — a significant task considering the slew of charges and cases against him. As previously reported by Rolling Stone, Trump himself has privately mused to advisers if authorities would make him wear “one of those jumpsuits” in prison.
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