A federal judge ordered this week that former Vice President Mike Pence must testify to a grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to stay in office after losing the 2020 presidential election.
The ruling comes as prosecutors have sought testimony from Pence about Trump’s demands of him to use his ceremonial role in overseeing the Electoral College vote count to stop the process.
Trump’s lawyers had sought to limit Pence’s testimony by claiming executive privilege while Pence’s lawyers sought to limit his testimony by “arguing that his role as the president of the Senate meant he was protected from legal scrutiny by the executive branch — including the Justice Department — under the Constitution’s ‘speech or debate’ clause,” according to The New York Times.
The report noted that Pence’s aides thoroughly documented the pressure from the former president which was on top of the public pressure that he was exerting on Pence.
“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” Trump claimed on Twitter on January 6, 2021. “Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!”
In a subsequent post, Trump wrote: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
The ruling comes after a separate judge ruled that several Trump administration officials could not invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying in the criminal probe into Trump’s actions surrounding the 2020 election.
The ruling this week is the latest legal setback for the former president as a federal appeals court ruled last week that an attorney for Trump must testify and turn over records on the former president in a separate federal criminal investigation into his handling of U.S. government records after he left office.