Former Vice President Mike Pence will fight a grand jury subpoena for his testimony about Trump’s efforts to challenge the 2020 election.
Last week it was reported that the special counsel overseeing the Trump investigation had subpoenaed former Vice President Mike Pence.
According to Politico, instead of asserting executive privilege, Pence will argue that as Senate president, he is acting as a member of the legislative branch on Jan. 6 and is therefore protected by the DOJ’s demands.
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Mike Pence is preparing to resist a grand jury subpoena to testify about former President Donald Trump’s pressure to overturn the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the former vice president’s thinking.
Pence’s decision to challenge special counsel Jack Smith’s request had little to do with executive privilege, the people said. Rather, Pence is poised to argue that his former role as president of the Senate — therefore a member of the legislative branch — shields him from some Judiciary claims.
Pence’s allies say he is covered by constitutional provisions that shield congressional officials from legal process related to their work — language known as the “speech or debate” clause. Pence’s aides say the clause legally compels federal prosecutors to compel Pence to testify about central elements of Smith’s investigation. If Pence testifies, they say, it could jeopardize the separation of powers that the Constitution seeks to protect.
“He thinks the ‘speech or debate’ clause is a key protection for Article I for the legislature,” said one of two people familiar with Pence’s thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss his legislative strategy. “He feels it really goes to the heart of some of the separation of powers issues. He feels obligated to maintain that protection, even if it means being sued.”
Jack Smith, who has just returned to the United States from Europe after recovering from a biking accident, is moving full steam ahead with his investigation into whether Trump committed a crime.
The special counsel is investigating whether Trump broke the law when he took White House records to Mar-a-Lago, and another part of the investigation is believed to be related to Jan. 6.
However, Jack Smith has now expanded his investigation and is looking into Trump’s efforts to combat 2020 election fraud in key swing states.