© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is interviewed by Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, in front of an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, U.S., October 19, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
By Sarah N. Lynch and Susan Heavey
(Reuters) -Republican former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is preparing to resist a grand jury subpoena for testimony about efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection loss, a source familiar with his plans said on Tuesday.
Pence will argue that his role as president of the Senate – making him a member of the legislative branch – shields him from certain Justice Department demands, rather than cite executive privilege as then-vice president, the source said.
A representative for Pence did not respond to a request for comment on his decision to challenge Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request, first reported by Politico. Smith’s office declined to comment.
Smith, a political independent and former war crimes prosecutor, is investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election that included Trump supporters’ deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump has repeatedly made false claims that he lost the 2020 election to Biden through massive voter fraud. He has also harshly criticized Pence for not blocking Congress’ certification on Jan. 6 as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, some chanting: “Hang Mike Pence.”
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and Greg Jacob, who was Pence’s top legal counsel, along with other former top White House lawyers have previously appeared before the grand jury now being led by Smith.
A now-disbanded House of Representatives panel that investigated the attack also sought testimony from Pence, who did not appear. It ultimately called for federal prosecutors to charge Trump with four crimes, including insurrection.
Trump, who is running again for president in 2024, has called the probes part of an ongoing political witch hunt. Pence, who publicly detailed some of his conversations with Trump about the 2020 election in a book last year, is weighing a presidential bid himself and has urged Republicans to move past their White House loss.