Marc Short, who was chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, testified last week to a federal grand jury in Washington investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the highest ranking official of the Trump administration so far known to have cooperated with the Justice Department’s widening inquiry into the events leading up to the assault.
Mr. Short, who was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, spent two to three hours in front of the grand jury on Friday, according to two people familiar with the matter. His appearance before the grand jury was first reported by ABC News.
Mr. Short’s appearance was the latest indication that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the events surrounding and leading up to the events of Jan. 6 is intensifying amid growing questions about the urgency the department has placed on examining Mr. Trump’s potential criminal liability.
It remains unclear what Mr. Short told the grand jury or what questions prosecutors may have asked him. But he previously gave a recorded and transcribed interview to the House select committee in which he described Mr. Trump’s campaign to pressure Mr. Pence into disrupting the normal tally of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 as part of an effort to keep Mr. Trump in office.
Mr. Short also informed Mr. Pence’s lead Secret Service agent on Jan. 5, 2021, that Mr. Trump was about to turn publicly on Mr. Pence, potentially creating a security risk. On the day of the Capitol attack, some in the mob of Trump supporters who attacking the Capitol chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” Mr. Trump reacted approvingly to the chants, effectively saying that Mr. Pence deserved it, according to testimony collected by the House committee.
Mr. Short’s grand jury appearance marks the first time it has become publicly known that a figure with firsthand knowledge of what took place inside the White House in the tumultuous days leading up to Jan. 6 has cooperated with federal prosecutors.
Until now, the only other pro-Trump figure — aside from the rioters who were on the ground at the Capitol — known to have testified in front of a grand jury investigating the events of Jan. 6 was the prominent “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander.
Several people connected to a scheme to create false slates of electors claiming Mr. Trump won the 2020 election in swing states that were actually won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. have been issued grand jury subpoenas seeking information about the plan.
The Justice Department has also seized electronic devices from two lawyers connected to the so-called fake elector plan: John Eastman, an outside adviser to Mr. Trump who helped to create and promote the idea, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who helped draft a letter to state officials in Georgia falsely stating that the department had evidence of election fraud in the state.