Pence to fight special counsel subpoena on 2020 election
WASHINGTON >> Former Vice President Mike Pence is planning to fight a subpoena by the special counsel overseeing investigations into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election, according to people familiar with his thinking.
Pence and his attorneys are planning to cite constitutional grounds as they prepare to resist special counsel Jack Smith's efforts to compel his testimony before a grand jury. They argue that because Pence was serving in his role as president of the Senate on Jan. 6, 2021 as he presided over a joint session of Congress to certify the election results, he is protected from being forced to address his actions under the Constitution's “speech-or-debate” clause that shields members of Congress.
“I think he views it as essential protection of his Constitutional role,” said Marc Short, a close adviser to Pence who served as his White House chief of staff.
Short compared Pence's position to the one he took on Jan. 6 when he refused to go along with Trump's unconstitutional scheme to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election, as well as Pence's rejection of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the aftermath.
“The vice president of the United State is the president of the Senate and the fact is the functions of Jan. 6 were specific to that role,” he said of Pence, who has been laying the groundwork for a likely presidential campaign that would put him in direct competition against his former boss.
Whether Pence's arguments will succeed in limiting or altogether avoiding grand jury testimony is unclear, but the Justice Department is expected to oppose those efforts and to make the case that the former vice president's cooperation is essential for a probe focused on Trump's actions.
The decision to try to fight the subpoena marks a change in posture from Pence, who has cooperated with the Justice Department as it investigates how documents with classified markings ended up at his Indiana home after the end of the Trump administration.