Former Vice President Mike Pence has been contacted by the Justice Department, according to sources familiar with the matter, to provide testimony in its ongoing criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and former President Donald Trump's alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. File pool photo by Saul Loeb/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Justice Department has contacted former Vice President Mike Pence to provide testimony for its ongoing criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol and former President Donald Trump's alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, sources familiar with the matter told The New York Times, CNN and ABC News.
Pence's team has indicated the former vice president is considering the request, two people confirmed to The New York Times, which was first to report the Justice Department had reached out to Pence. The Justice Department's request was also independently confirmed by people familiar with the matter to both CNN and ABC News.
Pence could be a crucial witness for prosecutors, especially after he told ABC News in an exclusive interview that Trump and his allies urged him, before Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory.
"I mean, the president's words were reckless. It was clear he decided to be part of the problem," Pence told ABC News' David Muir as he answered questions about Trump's speech on Jan. 6, before the Capitol was attacked.
Pence, who has also published a memoir describing some of his interactions with the former president, was inside the Capitol when Trump supporters attacked the building, some chanting violence against the vice president. Earlier that day, Pence declined to intervene in the electoral vote certification process.
While the Justice Department is currently seeking testimony from Pence, it has already secured answers from two of Pence's top advisers, Greg Jacob and Marc Short, according to CNN.
In July, the Justice Department began its criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, Capitol attack and Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. As of Sept. 13, it was reported that the department had issued 40 subpoenas for witnesses to testify to a federal grand jury in the ongoing investigation.
In addition, search warrants were issued to seize phones belonging to Boris Epshteyn, in-house counsel for Trump's legal efforts, and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist and director of the former president's Election Day operations.
The Justice Department investigation includes Trump's post-election fundraising and efforts to appoint false electors to overturn his defeat to Biden.
The House select committee is also investigating the events of Jan. 6, but Pence turned down the committee's request for an interview saying Congress has "no right" to his testimony. Pence did allow top aides to answer questions.
Earlier this year, Pence criticized the former president saying he was "wrong" for suggesting he overturn the results of the last presidential election.
"There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard that President Trump said I had the right to 'overturn the election,'" Pence said during a speech in February before the Federalist Society in Orlando, Fla.
"President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election," Pence said. "Whatever the future holds, I know we did our duty that day."