WASHINGTON—Justice Department investigators want to speak with former Vice President Mike Pence as part of a continuing probe into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss, according to people familiar with the outreach.
Mr. Pence has declined to speak to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by Mr. Trump’s supporters and hasn’t made a decision on whether to be interviewed by Justice Department officials. But the former vice president views the Justice Department investigation as different from what he considers a partisan House probe, according to the people familiar with his thinking.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
The outreach from Justice Department investigators, first reported by the New York Times, came before Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed a former public corruption and international war-crimes prosecutor as special counsel to oversee investigations into Mr. Trump. Jack Smith will supervise key aspects of the sprawling investigation into the attempt to keep Mr. Trump in power as well as the probe into the handling of classified documents at Mr. Trump’s Florida estate.
Mr. Trump has said he did nothing wrong and has continued to accuse the Justice Department and the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 of engaging in a partisan witch hunt.
The House committee had sought Mr. Pence’s testimony but he hasn’t complied, citing the largely Democratic makeup of the panel and the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.
“I never stood in the way of senior members of my team cooperating with the committee and testifying. But Congress has no right to my testimony,” Mr. Pence said earlier this week on CBS News. “We have a separation of powers under the Constitution of the United States. And I believe it would establish a terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House.”
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