Jul 25, 2022
Multiple news reports revealed Monday that two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence recently were subpoenaed and appeared before the federal grand jury probing the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Marc Short, who served as Pence's chief of staff, "was caught by an ABC News camera departing D.C. District Court on Friday alongside his attorney, Emmet Flood," the outlet reported, sharing a still from the footage and citing sources familiar with the matter.
Journalists and others noted that Short is now the highest-ranking official from former President Donald Trump's administration known to have cooperated with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation.
\u201cSo it\u2019s clear the DOJ Jan 6 grand jury is finally going for the jugular: \n\nIt\u2019s targeting Trump\u2019s role in criminally pressuring his own VP to help him overturn his 2020 loss to Biden. \n\nAG Garland is on the right track. Now he just needs to step on the gas\nhttps://t.co/5tDEi4GcSg\u201d— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe) 1658784532
Noah Bookbinder, president of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said that "we don't totally know what this means, but it's clearly good news for accountability."
In a series of tweets, Just Security's Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel, laid out the potential significance of Short cooperating with the probe.
\u201c2. From what we know and all Marc Short\u2019s testimony publicly disclosed by January 6 committee, he has the most evidence to give if DOJ wants to pursue this line of inquiry.\ud83d\udc47\n\n@BarbMcQuade\u2019s model prosecution memo on the conspiracy to pressure Mike Pence.\n\nhttps://t.co/z77SnmPSYR\u201d— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman) 1658779839
"Most importantly, Marc Short has significant testimony he could give that implicates Trump. Also importantly, he can give testimony that significantly implicates Mark Meadows," Goodman said, referencing the former president's White House chief of staff.
\u201c5. A key that unlocks the door to criminal obstruction of the congressional proceedings is whether the individual (eg Trump-Meadows-Eastman) knew Pence did not have authority to block the certification of electoral votes.\n\nShort has direct information that Meadows knew.\u201d— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman) 1658779839
Greg Jacob, Pence's top White House attorney, also recently appeared before the grand jury under subpoena, according to the Journal.
The newspaper noted that the DOJ recently added prosecutors and resources to the probe and suggested that the new interviews signal investigators "are targeting a senior circle of Trump associates who pushed for the former vice president" to halt the certification of President Joe Biden's 2020 victory.
As the Journal detailed:
One area of interest to prosecutors was a January 4, 2021 Oval Office meeting where conservative lawyer John Eastman pushed Mr. Pence, in Mr. Trump's presence, to either reject the electoral votes outright or suspend the proceedings and ask several state legislatures to reexamine the results.
Last month, Mr. Jacob testified at length before the January 6 congressional committee about that meeting, which included Messrs. Trump, Pence, Short, Eastman, and Jacob. During the meeting, Mr. Eastman admitted his proposals would violate the law but wanted to proceed anyway, Mr. Jacob said.
"During that meeting on the fourth, I think I raised the problem that both of Mr. Eastman's proposals would violate several provisions of the Electoral Count Act. Mr. Eastman acknowledged that that was the case, that even what he viewed as the more politically palatable option would violate several provisions," Mr. Jacob told the committee.
During a press conference last week, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that "there is a lot of speculation about what the Justice Department is doing, what it's not doing, what our theories are, what our theories aren't, and there will continue to be that speculation."
"That's because a central tenet of the way in which the Justice Department investigates and a central tenet of the rule of law is that we do not do our investigations in public," he continued. "This is the most wide-ranging investigation and the most important investigation that the Justice Department has ever entered into."
"We have to get this right," he stressed. "And for people who are concerned--as I think every American should be--about protecting democracy, we have to do two things: We have to hold accountable every person who is criminally responsible for trying to overturn a legitimate election, and we must do it in a way filled with integrity and professionalism."
Garland later added that "no person is above the law in this country."
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