According to a source with knowledge of the case, a federal judge has ordered former vice president Mike Pence to testify in the federal examination of Donald Trump’s attempt to influence the 2020 election. According to the source, former President Clinton’s attempt to claim executive privilege over Pence’s evidence was largely denied by Judge James Boasberg.
However, on January 6, 2021, President of the Senate Pence was granted immunity from testifying regarding specified topics by Federal District Court Chief Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C. Whether or not Pence will appeal Boasberg’s order, which is currently under secret, remains unclear. Pence has publicly opposed the subpoena issued by special counsel Jack Smith.
Pence has said he is willing to answer some types of questions on Trump’s bid to reverse the 2020 election, even though he lost to Joe Biden. Yet, he has claimed that the vice president should be granted the immunity normally reserved for members of Congress because of the vice president’s unique position as both a prominent member of the executive branch and president of the Senate.
If he doesn’t agree with the decision, he’s said he’ll appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. Boasberg decided that Pence would have to testify about certain aspects of the January 6 investigation, and the news initially broke on CNN and ABC.
It’s a complicated issue with enormous consequences for the integrity of the federal government and for the ongoing investigation into Trump’s possible criminal behavior in his pursuit of a second term.
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Despite the lack of judicial precedent supporting Pence’s position, the Justice Department has argued on at least three separate occasions that vice presidents should be afforded the same “speech or debate” immunity afforded to members of Congress, which prevents them from being held legally liable for their legislative actions.
Trump’s claim of executive privilege to prevent any testimony from him as vice president was a separate argument that Pence did not adopt. Attempts to use executive privilege and attorney-client privilege to shield witnesses from testimony before Smith’s grand juries have been shot down in court on multiple occasions.
The secret documents Trump kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort after leaving office are the focus of an investigation by one of these grand juries. Pence has a good argument that he should be immune from giving testimony to the executive branch because of his position as president of the Senate, according to legal experts.
PENCE will not appeal decision saying he must testify before a grand jury, his aide says. Unclear if Trump will appeal. Trump filed on exec privilege claim, Pence on speech or debate clause (Pence had partial win).
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 5, 2023
A related effort by Representative Scott Perry (R-Pa.) to prohibit Smith from accessing his cell phone data by invoking the First Amendment’s “speech or debate” clause is awaiting a decision from the federal appeals court in Washington.
The majority of Perry’s claims were dismissed in a December order that U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, who recently passed the gavel to Boasberg, decided to unseal this month.
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