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Fed Judge Says Pence Must Testify; Former VP Said He Will Go To SCOTUS If Needed

According to sources familiar with the matter, a federal judge has ruled that former Vice President Mike Pence must testify before a grand jury by January 6, 2021, on talks he had with former President Donald Trump, despite Trump’s claims of executive privilege.

Judge James Boasberg reportedly said in a sealed ruling on Tuesday that while Mr. Pence is not immune from testifying about any illegal conduct by Mr. Trump, the former vice president can decline to answer some questions relating to his role as president of the Senate during the certification that day of President Biden’s victory.

Less than a week after holding a closed-door hearing on the topic, Judge Boasberg issued a finding that can be appealed. In a press conference last month, Vice President Pence said he would go to the Supreme Court if necessary to fight the subpoena for his testimony issued by special counsel Jack Smith.

This is the latest of the special counsel’s recent victories. A federal judge in Washington, DC, compelled Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to appear earlier this month after hearing evidence that Mr. Smith’s team had shown that Trump may have deceived his own lawyers about his post-White House preservation of secret documents. Mr. Corcoran spent around three hours on Friday testifying in front of a grand jury.

Mr. Smith is in charge of the Justice Department investigation into Trump and his associates’ attempts to overturn Trump’s 2020 presidential election defeat and the investigation into Trump’s handling of confidential documents.

A Justice Department spokesperson would not elaborate.

Mr. Pence objected to the subpoena on the grounds that, in addition to his duties as vice president, he was also president of the Senate, giving him the right to rely on a constitutional provision that normally protects members of Congress from being questioned about their legislative actions.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has a new head judge since the beginning of the month: Judge Boasberg. He is in charge of Mr. Smith’s investigations as well as all grand jury business in the court.

Apart from the Manhattan grand jury investigating Mr. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star, which is nearing a vote on a potential indictment of the former president, a Washington grand jury is looking into the handling of the Mar-a-Lago documents and Jan. 6.

Mr. Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short and legal counsel Greg Jacob testified in the January 6 probe last year after being subpoenaed to do so.

Authorities are looking for details about a meeting held in the Oval Office on January 4, 2021, during which conservative lawyer John Eastman allegedly urged Vice President Mike Pence, in the presence of President Donald Trump, to prevent the Electoral College votes from being counted.

Trump publicly and privately pressed Pence to publicly and privately accept a fringe theory promoted by Mr. Eastman, that the vice president may reject electors from particular states or halt the counting of ballots in order to turn the matter back to those states. Constitutional law experts agree with Mr. Pence that any attempt to intervene is illegal.

The mob of Mr. Trump’s followers who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, had Mr. Pence in their sights. At 2:24 p.m. same day, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the fortitude to do what should have been done.”

Mr. Pence, who was instrumental in Mr. Trump’s ability to win over Christian evangelicals in 2016, is currently on a campaign swing and is widely expected to enter the race for president.



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