Mike Pence reportedly on list to testify at Trump’s Georgia election trial

<span>Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP</span>
Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP
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Mike Pence, could be called to testify at the former president’s Georgia election subversion trial, CNN reported.

Related: Pence’s son reportedly convinced him to stand up to Trump over January 6

Citing anonymous sources “familiar with court documents that remain under seal”, the network said Donald Trump’s vice-president was included on witness lists submitted by prosecutors in Fulton county, where Trump faces 13 charges connected to his attempt to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden in 2020.

Pence, CNN said, “could become a key witness as one of the few one-time Republican allies of the former president to strongly rebuke Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the Peach state”.

Later on Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it had also learned of Pence’s presence on a list also containing William Barr, Trump’s second attorney general; Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, justice department leaders at the time of Trump’s attempted election subversion; Scott Perry, a Trump ally and hard-right Republican congressman from Pennsylvania; and Steve Bannon, Trump’s former campaign chair and White House strategist.

Republican state leaders in Georgia were also on the list, the newspaper said, the current governor, Brian Kemp, among them.

CNN quoted remarks by Pence to the National Conference of State Legislatures in August, after Trump was indicted in Georgia and before Pence suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination next year.

“Despite what the former president and his allies have said for now more than two and a half years and continue to insist,” Pence said, “… the Georgia election was not stolen, and I had no right to overturn the election on January 6.”

Though Pence added then that “no one is above law”, he also said Trump “and all those implicated” in his election subversion schemes were “entitled to the presumption of innocence”.

Recent reporting has suggested Pence strongly considered abandoning his constitutional role on 6 January 2021, and withdrawing from the electoral college certification process in order not to “hurt” Trump, who in contemporaneous notes Pence referred to as his “friend”.

In the event, Pence followed legal advice and fulfilled his duty while Trump sent supporters to the Capitol to “fight like hell” to block certification.

Nine deaths have been linked to the riot, including law enforcement suicides. Members of the mob chanted for Pence to be hanged, while a makeshift gallows was erected outside. According to witness testimony in the House January 6 investigation, Trump said Pence “deserve[d]” to be hanged.

Pence’s deliberations over January 6 were revealed by reporting on his testimony in the federal investigation of Trump’s election subversion, another front in legal battles which, despite producing 91 criminal charges and assorted civil threats, have not stopped him dominating polling for the next Republican presidential nomination.

As Pence vacillated, he was reportedly persuaded by his son Michael, a US marine, to fulfill his oath and “support and defend the constitution”.

A spokesperson for Pence did not comment to CNN about its reporting on the Georgia case. Nor did a spokesperson for the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis.