(WASHINGTON) — Former Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday he doesn’t intend to testify in former President Donald Trump’s trial over Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results — but Pence didn’t close the door on such a possibility.
“I have no plans to testify. But, look, we’ll always comply with the law,” Pence said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” in a pre-taped appearance from New Hampshire.
He referenced having previously testified before the federal grand jury investigating Jan. 6, suggesting he would testify again if he was compelled.
“I testified before the grand jury under a subpoena after we got clarification from the court about protections that I have under the Constitution as the president of the Senate,” he said.
Pence, now running against Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has emerged as a potential key witness at Trump’s future trial after Trump was indicted last week on four charges over his efforts to reverse his 2020 loss and remain in power.
Trump is accused of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights.
After pleading not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday, he claimed to reporters that “this is a persecution of a political opponent” by the federal government, which prosecutors deny.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment alleges, as part of Trump’s charges, a concerted pressure campaign to have Pence reject the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, 2021, and send the results back to state legislatures — something Pence has repeatedly pointed out he had no right to do.
“Frankly, the day before Jan. 6, if memory serves, they came back, [Trump’s] lawyers did, and said, ‘We want you to reject votes outright.’ They were asking me to overturn the election. I had no right to overturn the election,” Pence said Sunday.
He laid most of the blame at the feet of Trump’s attorneys and said that he does not know Trump’s true intentions.
Trump lawyer John Lauro argued on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that “the government will never be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Trump had corrupt or criminal intent.”
Pence said on CNN: “I don’t know what was in his heart. I don’t know what his intentions were, but I do know what he and his lawyers asked me to do.”
In a pre-taped interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that also aired on Sunday, Pence again declined to comment on Trump’s state of mind.
“It seemed to me through all that period of time, the president was intent, as we all were, in getting to the bottom of voting irregularities that had taken place,” he said. (No court or election official has confirmed voting fraud or misconduct in any substantial amount during the 2020 race.)
However, Pence did say that Trump was being falsely advised that Pence had an ability to reject some votes after the election was over.
“From some time in the middle of December , the president began to be told I had some authority to reject or return votes back to the states. I had no such authority. I stand by the facts as they occurred,” he said on CBS. “I mean, it ebbed and flowed between different legal theories, but at the end of the day we did our duty and kept our oath.”
As he did on CNN, Pence indicated on CBS that he wouldn’t fight being called as a witness at Trump’s trial. “We’ll obey the law and respond to the call of the law if it comes, and we’ll just tell the truth,” he said.
On both CNN and CBS, Pence would not rule out voting for Trump in 2024 but said, “I don’t think I’ll have to.”
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