Former Vice President Mike Pence was ordered Tuesday to testify in relation to the January 6 probe, but a judge “agreed, at least in part,” that he is entitled to immunity on certain issues because he was serving in his capacity as president of the Senate that day, per a report.
Citing an anonymous source, Politico’s Kyle Cheney wrote that United States District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge James Boasberg “agreed, at least in part, with Pence’s legal team that the former vice president enjoys immunity from testifying about certain topics due to his role as president of the Senate on Jan. 6, 2021.”
The Associated Press’s Jill Colvin and Eric Tucker reported “that Pence would not have to answer questions about his actions on Jan. 6, 2021,” citing two anonymous sources.
Special Counsel Jack Smith issued Pence a subpoena in January. The former vice president contended that the subpoena did not pass constitutional muster during an exclusive interview with Breitbart News last month.
“The special counsel subpoena for me, as a former vice president, to appear before the Grand Jury is unconstitutional and unprecedented,” Pence said. “I’m going to fight the Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) on this. I will tell you that I hope as people reflect on my career they will recognize my commitment is to the Constitution of the United States.”
Pence categorized the subpoena as a violation of the Speech and Debate Clause of the U.S. Consitution, arguing it would compel him to testify about his role as Senate president. He said:
I stood by the express language of the Constitution on January 6 and ensured the peaceful transfer of power and on this matter we’re going to stand firmly on the Separation of Powers and the Speech and Debate Clause that is enshrined in the Constitution,” Pence said. “The Executive Branch may not compel anyone in their legislative duties to appear as the Constitution says ‘in any other place.’ The DOJ knows that. In fact, the DOJ took the position that in my role as President of the Senate that I enjoyed the absolute legal immunity under the Speech and Debate Clause in two separate cases in the last two years but now it seems like we’ve run into that two-tiered system of justice that conservatives have grown accustomed to from Biden’s DOJ. Despite the fact that the DOJ took the position that the Speech and Debate Clause applied to me in my role as the President of the Senate twice in the past two years, now they have issued a subpoena to compel me to testify. So, we’re going to fight it on constitutional grounds.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted that Boasberg found Pence was not entitled to executive privileged as former President Donald J. Trump had argued. This was not a contention Pence pursued.
“It was not immediately clear whether Boasberg’s ruling, which remains under seal, is broad enough to satisfy Pence’s public resistance to the subpoena — issued by special counsel Jack Smith — or whether he intends to appeal,”Cheney wrote.
The former vice president’s camp “is evaluating whether it will appeal,” Tucker and Colvin noted.