Former Vice President Pence has been ordered by a federal judge to testify before a federal grand jury in relation to the investigation into the actions of former President Trump on the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection. The ruling is seen as a significant development in the investigation, as Pence’s testimony could shed light on Trump’s actions and potential involvement in inciting the violence that occurred that day.
Pence has maintained that he has “nothing to hide” and that he upheld the Constitution on Jan. 6. He had previously fought back against a subpoena from special counsel Jack Smith by invoking the Constitution’s “speech and debate” clause to avoid having to testify about his official duties on that day. However, a judge ruled that executive privilege could not entirely shield Pence from testifying, although he would not have to answer questions about his role as president of the Senate.
The court’s decision is a setback for Trump’s attempts to prevent his former vice president from testifying about him. Trump had fought to block Pence’s testimony on the grounds of executive privilege. The judge’s ruling that Pence must answer questions that address any criminality by Trump suggests that the investigation is zeroing in on potential wrongdoing by the former president.
Smith’s investigation into the former president has started to approach other high-profile witnesses connected to Trump, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former chief of staff Mark Meadows. The investigation appears to be picking up steam, and the potential testimony from Pence could further accelerate its progress.
Pence’s statement that he is “evaluating the court’s decision” suggests that he may consider appealing the ruling. However, his cooperation with the investigation could be crucial in determining the extent of Trump’s involvement in the events of Jan. 6 and any potential criminal liability he may face.