Former US Vice President Mike Pence has testified in a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election.
Pence, 63, has served more than seven hours before a federal jury in Washington, D.C., sources tell BBC US partner CBS News.
He received a subpoena to testify under oath earlier this year.
The prosecution conducted the investigation behind closed doors.
His appearance on Thursday came just hours after an appeals court rejected a last-ditch effort by Trump’s legal team to stop Mr. Pence from testifying.
Lawyers for Mr. Pence have also sought, unsuccessfully, to challenge the subpoena, arguing that his role as Senate president while in office means he has immunity from Congress.
And his latest testimony, which he has been seeking for months, is a milestone in the two-year investigation led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, the former war crimes prosecutor who was appointed to the post by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The investigation has collected evidence about whether Mr. Trump and his allies violated federal law in their efforts to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election, which was won by President Joe Biden.
He is also investigating the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the building in an effort to prevent the election result from being certified.
Mr. Pence, who, like all vice presidents, also served as Senate president — a largely ceremonial role — could in theory block final certification of the election result and delay the transfer of power.
Mr. Trump has publicly pressed his vice president to do so, and his refusal has drawn criticism from Pence.
Trump supporters then chanted “Hang Mike Pence” as they stormed Congress and packed the halls of the Capitol while politicians including Pence took refuge inside.
Mr. Pence is a key witness in the investigation, and although it is not known what he told the grand jury right away, it is likely that prosecutors questioned him about his interactions with Mr. Trump and his team in the days and weeks leading up to it. to riot. .
“We’re going to abide by the law and we’re going to tell the truth,” Pence said in an interview with CBS on Sunday. “The story I tell the American people across the country… will be the story I tell here.” »
Pence has spoken publicly about the Capitol riot and the pressure he faced to challenge the election result. President Trump is wrong. he said in a speech in February.
In his memoir, God Help Me, Pence writes that Mr. Trump tried to pressure him into preventing the election result from being certified on the morning of the riot. Apparently, the then president told Mr. Pence: “You will fall like cheese.”
He also accused Trump of endangering his family and others who were on Capitol Hill, saying history will judge him.
Pence will consider his presidential bid in 2024, which will see him directly challenge his former boss for the Republican nomination.
Mr. Trump, who has already launched his bid to return to the White House, was in New Hampshire Thursday for a campaign event. Asked by NBC News about Mr. Pence’s testimony, he commented, “I don’t know what he said, but I have great faith in him.”
The former president faces other legal issues, including another federal investigation led by Smith into possible mishandling of classified documents.
There is also a separate investigation in Georgia into alleged attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 election.