Mike Pence implies he won’t fight all parts of special counsel’s subpoena
Mike Pence implies he won’t fight all parts of special counsel’s subpoenaRyan King
March 19, 09:22 AM March 19, 09:22 AM
Former Vice President Mike Pence implied that he will not necessarily be fighting all the elements of a subpoena that special counsel Jack Smith levied against him last month.
Rather than assert executive privilege, Pence confirmed reports that his legal team is citing the speech and debate clause that insulates congressional officials from legal scrutiny over their work. Pence claims that in his capacity to certify the election on Jan. 6, 2021, he was serving as president of the Senate.
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“We’re not asserting executive privilege, which may encompass other discussions,” Pence told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on This Week. “I just believe that the work that I did preparing for and conducting my role as President of the Senate is covered by the speech and debate clause. I believe we have the law on our side.”
Some, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, have poked at Pence’s argument, noting that vice presidents are part of the executive branch. The debate clause provides broad protections to lawmakers against law enforcement questions over their actions pertaining to legislative business.
At least one of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers revealed that Trump would seek executive privilege over any testimony Pence may give. Under executive privilege, presidents can withhold certain types of information or documents from the legislative and judicial branches.
Last month, Smith requested a judge compel Pence to testify before a grand jury about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Smith was appointed last year to spearhead the Justice Department’s investigations involving the Jan. 6 riot and coinciding efforts to thwart the 2020 election as well as the Mar-a-Lago classified documents ordeal.
The subpoena lodged against Pence features requests for information such as efforts to appoint Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general, details about Trump attorney John Eastman, and communications about efforts to overturn the 2020 election, ABC reported. Clark was notably open to Trump’s claims of election fraud and was featured prominently in the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
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Pence is mulling a run for the presidency and has widely polled in third place in a hypothetical GOP primary behind Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). He previously declined to testify before the Jan. 6 committee and has indicated he will fight Smith’s subpoena to the Supreme Court.
“We’re going to respect the decisions of the court, and that may take us all the way to the highest court in the land,” Pence said.