The special counsel investigating Former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election has summoned former Vice President Mike Pence to testify.
The development follows months of negotiations between Department of Justice prosecutors and Pence’s legal team.
The move represents an escalation in the Justice Department investigation and sets the stage for a likely court battle over executive privilege, which lawyers for Mr. Trump have raised in recent years to block or slow the testimony of former administration officials in various probes.
Mr. Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, and his former counsel, Greg Jacob, last year appeared before a federal grand jury as part of the investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to discredit the 2020 election results.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Mr. Smith in November to examine efforts to undo the election results as well as to probe the handling of classified documents found at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. That investigation has intensified over a year to include an extraordinary warrant-backed search of the property in August.
Mr. Pence declined to speak to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by Mr. Trump’s supporters. But the former vice president has viewed the Justice Department investigation as different from the House inquiry, which he considered partisan, according to people familiar with his thinking.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Pence’s team is weighing its response.