Pence has been requested to testify as a part of the probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event promoting his new book at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank October 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
A federal judge ordered former Vice President Mike Pence to comply with a grand jury subpoena issued as part of a special investigator investigation into ex-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, NBC News reported Tuesday.
Pence had previously vowed to contest Special Counsel Jack Smith’s subpoena, arguing that the vice president’s role as President of the Senate affords him constitutional protections against testifying about certain legislative activities.
Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court in Washington, DC ruled that Pence has limited protections related to his role on Jan. 6, 2021, NBC reported. The then-vice president chaired a joint session of Congress that day called to confirm President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election.
But Pence is not immune to testimony about Trump’s alleged “illegality,” Boasberg is reported to have ruled.
The judge also dismissed arguments by Trump’s attorneys against the subpoena on executive privilege grounds, according to NBC, which cited a source familiar with the sealed judgment.
Smith is investigating whether Trump or his allies unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power on or before January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters, spurred on by false allegations of widespread voter fraud, stormed the US Capitol.
Trump had pressured Pence to reject key Electoral College votes for Biden during the congressional process, hoping to send them back to states whose officials would then pick Trump as their winner. Pence refused to help with this plan, saying on the morning of the event that he did not have the constitutional authority to unilaterally refuse electoral votes.
That decision enraged Trump and many of his supporters, some of whom broke through police lines and entered the Capitol, forcing Pence and lawmakers to flee for safety.
Pence, who is considering a presidential bid in 2024 in which he would face Trump in the Republican primary, has repeatedly defended his decision in the years since the Capitol riot.
A rep for Pence did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on NBC’s report.
The ruling on Pence’s testimony comes days after NBC and other media outlets reported that a federal judge ordered a number of Trump’s former aides to testify before the grand jury to hear evidence in Smith’s inquest.
Trump’s legal team had also attempted to prevent these ex-assistants from testifying on executive privilege grounds.
Smith is also investigating the hundreds of classified documents sent to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., where he has lived since leaving the presidency. The FBI searched Trump’s home last year.
A Trump campaign spokesman, in a statement to NBC on Tuesday, accused the Justice Department of “continuously deviating from standard norms to attempt to violate the long-accepted, long-held, constitutional standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.” to destroy”.
The statement also said Trump’s political enemies would “corrupt the legal process” to influence the presidential election, where Trump currently leads the Republican primary field.