BY JILL COLVIN
NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Pence fought the Department of Justice in court to try to avoid testifying against his former boss. But in Tuesday’s federal indictment, the former vice president plays a central role in the first criminal charges against Donald Trump that deal with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The 45-page indictment is informed, in part, by contemporaneous notes that Pence kept of their conversations in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, as Trump tried to pressure Pence to go along with his desperate — and prosecutors say illegal — scheme to keep the two men in power.
Among the discussions: An episode in which Trump is alleged to have told Pence that he was “too honest” for rejecting Trump’s false claims that Pence had the power to overturn the vote. “Bottom line – won every state by 100,000s of votes,” Trump said in another conversation, according to the indictment.
Pence, who is among a crowded field of Republicans now challenging Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination, has spent much of his nascent campaign defending his decision to defy Trump. He launched his bid with a firm denunciation of his two-time running mate, saying Trump had “demanded I choose between him and our Constitution. Now voters will be faced with the same choice.”