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With top aides testifying, Pence has Trump in the palm of his hand

Trump tried to turn Mike Pence into a right-wing pariah. Now, Team Pence may be the only thing separating the former president and his team from prison time.


On Monday, we learned Marc Short, former chief of staff to then-Vice President Mike Pence, testified last week before a grand jury impaneled by the Justice Department, a sign that the federal investigation into former President Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 attack could be heating up.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Greg Jacob, Pence's former legal counsel, also appeared before a grand jury in connection with the investigation. Neither NBC News nor MSNBC has independently confirmed that report.

But if that’s the case — oh, how the tables have turned since a rabid mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and called for Pence to be hanged for refusing to go along with Trump’s scheme to stay in power. 

Short and Jacob testifying before a grand jury suggests Pence and company could have Trump in a vise, even as the former president and his followers continue pestering Pence in public. Short is the highest-ranking Trump administration official to testify before a grand jury, according to NBC News.

And over the last several weeks of the House Jan. 6 committee's public hearings, we’ve heard some of the bombshell revelations both Short and Jacob may have divulged. 

For example, both men told congressional investigators about Trump-allied lawyer John Eastman pressuring Pence not to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory on Jan. 6. Pence instinctively knew the plan was unlawful, and his first reaction was to say it was unjustifiable, Jacob testified.

Both men have also accused Trump of falsely claiming the day before the Jan. 6 attack that Pence was in “total agreement” about his power to overturn the election results. 

And during the third public hearing in June, the committee displayed an email they said Eastman sent to Jacob after the Jan. 6 attack, urging Pence to use the delay caused by the Capitol siege to justify overturning the election results. 

Short testified that Trump had been told the plot was illegal. And he also reportedly told the Jan. 6 committee he warned Pence’s lead Secret Service agent on Jan. 5 that Trump was planning to publicly turn on Pence the following day, and that Pence could be in danger. 

Thinking about this evidence in light of yesterday’s reports about grand jury testimony, it looks like Team Pence has the upper hand on Team Trump. In an infamous Jan. 6 tweet, Trump memorably claimed Pence lacked the “courage” to go along with his election scheme. 

Let’s see how courageous Pence and company are feeling these days, now that they seemingly have all the evidence necessary to damage the man who sent a mob after them.