WASHINGTON — The subpoena issued Thursday to former Vice President Mike Pence by the special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol will likely complicate the Indiana Republican’s White House prospects.
Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed Pence after months of unsuccessful negotiations with his legal team to obtain his testimony, according to multiple news reports. While Pence has been critical of Trump’s actions leading up to and on Jan. 6, when a mob of his supporters sought to block the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, he refused to voluntarily sit for questioning with the Department of Justice and the special counsel.
ABC News first reported the subpoena had been issued Thursday evening.
Pence’s path to winning the Republican nomination in 2024 was narrow to begin with, and the latest development may make it that much harder for him, Republicans keeping tabs on the rapidly developing 2024 field told Yahoo News.
“It is hard, in my view, to say you are the grown-up in the room and in favor of law and order if you refuse DOJ subpoenas,” said one former Trump administration official. “Though, in the end, he still has no hope in 2024.”
Pence should respect the subpoena and cooperate, said Vin Weber, a former House Republican leader and longtime Republican operative.
“He’s got to be the straight-up guy he is, or he loses his brand,” Weber said.
Pence has been aggressively putting together a political team in recent months in anticipation of a formal announcement that insiders say will come this spring.
Former President Donald Trump at a New Hampshire Republican State Committee fundraiser, Jan. 28, 2023. (Cheryl Senter for the Washington Post)
A Pence spokesman declined comment for this story.
After leaving the White House two years ago, Pence largely avoided talking about his former running mate and the stunning attack on the Capitol, at which Trump’s supporters, egged on by the president, angrily chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” as they ransacked the building and delayed the certification vote.