Pence testifies before federal grand jury investigating Trump

Former vice president Mike Pence has given evidence before the federal grand jury investigating former president Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

According to multiple reports, Mr Pence spent roughly seven hours testifying to the grand jury and answering questions from prosecutors led by Jack Smith, the Department of Justice special counsel leading investigations into Mr Trump’s push to remain in office against the will of voters, and the twice-impeached ex-president’s alleged unlawful retention of national defence information.

Mr Pence’s appearance before the Washington DC grand jury comes less than 24 hours after a federal appeals court rejected a last-ditch appeal to block his testimony by Mr Trump’s legal team.

A federal judge previously denied Mr Trump’s attempt to use executive privilege, a legal doctrine which protects communications between and among a president and his advisers, to shield Mr Pence from testifying about conversations he had with the then-president in the days leading up to 6 January 2021, when Mr Pence was set to preside over the joint session of Congress at which their loss to Mr Biden and Kamala Harris would be made official and final.

The judge did grant Mr Pence’s request to allow him to refrain from testifying about any actions he took in his role as President of the Senate, on the grounds that the US Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause prevents him from having to give evidence about his functions as the presiding officer of one half of the legislative branch.