An official summons to appear in court as a witness in a criminal investigation into former US President Donald Trump has been issued to former US Vice President Mike Pence.
According to reports, the subpoena is related to Mr. Trump’s effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 presidential race.
Special Counsel Jack Smith of the Department of Justice is also looking into how Mr. Trump handled confidential information.
The subpoena puts Mr. Pence under more strain as he mulls running for president in 2024 against Mr. Trump.
Serious legal repercussions could result from disobeying such a summons.
According to sources who spoke to US media, the directive had something to do with Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results as well as the violence that occurred on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.
A separate investigation into whether Mr. Trump improperly handled sensitive papers discovered during a search of his Florida home is being led by the special counsel.
The Department of Justice and Mr. Pence both declined to confirm the existence of a subpoena.
The action represents a turning point in the two-year investigation, which the special counsel took over in November.
Mr. Trump put his vice-president under pressure to try to thwart the transfer of power in public.
His defiance prompted Mr. Trump to attack him, and amid the ensuing violence, Trump supporters stormed Congress while chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
According to reports, the former vice president is thinking about running for president in 2024. Trump’s campaign has already gotten underway.
The former governor of Indiana, Mr. Pence, had previously delayed giving testimony to the House of Representatives committee looking into the Capitol disturbance. Since then, that panel has broken up.
Comparing the secret file instances involving Biden and Trump
Confederate flag-carrying rioter from the Capitol gets imprisoned
The most recent action by the justice department may lead to a dispute over executive privilege, the legal theory that protects some communications between presidents.
It’s unknown if investigators will try to question Mr. Pence about secret documents.
Aides to Mr. Pence informed US authorities in January that they had discovered secret documents at the former vice-residence. president’s
Similar records were found at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and at an office he used in Washington, D.C., prompting the search. Robert Hur, a different special counsel, is looking into the Biden papers.
The FBI was anticipated to search the former vice president’s home for any additional records “not too far off into the future,” according to Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Mr. Pence, who made the statement to CNN on Wednesday.