Mike Pence subpoenaed by special counsel probing Donald Trump – source

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Former US vice president Mike Pence has been subpoenaed by the special counsel overseeing investigations into efforts by former president Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to a person with direct knowledge of the event.

The subpoena to Mr Pence as part of the investigation by special counsel Jack Smith was served in recent days, according to the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Thursday to discuss a sensitive issue.

The extraordinary scenario of a former vice president potentially testifying against his former boss in a criminal investigation comes as Mr Pence considers launching a 2024 Republican presidential bid against Mr Trump.

The two have been estranged since a mob of Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

Election 2024 Trump Donors
It comes as comes as Mr Pence considers launching a 2024 Republican presidential bid against Mr Trump (Alex Brandon, File/AP)

The move sets the stage for a likely executive privilege fight, given Mr Pence’s close proximity to Mr Trump for four years as major decisions were being contemplated and planned. It is unclear whether efforts to secure voluntary testimony from Mr Pence stalled before the subpoena was issued.

Spokespeople for Mr Pence and Mr Smith declined to comment on the issuance of the subpoena, which was first reported by ABC News.

Mr Pence was a central figure in Mr Trump’s efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. Mr Trump falsely insisted that his vice president, who had a ceremonial role in overseeing the certification of the election, could simply reject the results and send them back to the battleground states he contested.

On January 6, Mr Trump’s supporters – driven by the lie that the election was stolen – marched to the Capitol building, brutally pushed past the police and smashed through the windows and doors while Mr Pence was presiding over the certification of Mr Biden’s victory. The vice president was steered to safety with his staff and family as some in the mob chanted: “Hang Mike Pence!”

While the mob was in the Capitol, Mr Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

Pence Special Counsel
Mr Pence was a central figure in Mr Trump’s efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election (Jose Luis Magana, File/AP)

Federal prosecutors have been especially focused on a scheme by Mr Trump’s allies to elevate fake presidential electors in key battleground states won by Mr Biden as a way to subvert the vote, issuing subpoenas to multiple state Republican party chairs.

Federal prosecutors have brought multiple Trump administration officials before the grand jury for questioning, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Mr Pence’s own former chief of staff, Marc Short.

In a sign of the expanding nature of the investigation, election officials in multiple states whose results were disputed by Mr Trump have received subpoenas asking for communications with or involving Mr Trump and his campaign aides.

A House committee investigating the January 6 attack recommended that the Justice Department bring criminal charges against Mr Trump and associates who helped him launch a pressure campaign to try to overturn his 2020 election loss.

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