Donald Trump is reportedly seeking to reverse a judge’s order for Mike Pence to provide testimony for the special counsel investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the election and the insurrection that followed. Why might Trump not want Pence to answer questions in front of a grand jury? Perhaps it’s because the former VP can speak to the fact that Trump:
- Spent weeks pressuring him to overturn the 2020 election, even after being told it was illegal;
- Told Pence, “you can be a patriot or you can be a pussy”;
- Told Pence, in the days before January 6, that hundreds of thousands of people were going to hate him for being “too honest” to overturn the results of the election;
- Inspired his supporters to go after Pence by telling them at the “Stop the Steal” rally that the then VP had the power to block Joe Biden’s win, which led to people chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and a situation wherein the Secret Service had to move Pence and his family to a secure location, lest the rioters make good on their threats.
For his part, Pence has spent the two-plus years since January 6, 2021, refusing to tell investigators what he knows about that day and the days leading up to it. Earlier this month, though, having apparently read the writing on the walls—which we assume read something like, “You’re out of options, pal”—Pence announced through an adviser that he would not appeal the latest ruling ordering him to comply with special counsel Jack Smith’s subpoena for testimony. Among other legal arguments, Pence had claimed that his chats with Trump when they were POTUS and VPOTUS were protected by executive privilege, which prevented him from speaking to a grand jury about them; Judge James Boasberg reportedly shot that down and said Pence would have to answer questions about anything Trump said or did that might have been illegal. Trump is now hoping the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will reverse Boasberg’s order.
Pence’s potential testimony is, of course, just one of many very serious legal matters facing the ex-president. In addition to be charged with 34 class E felonies last week connected to various hush money deals—to which he pleaded not guilty—the former guy is also facing a possible indictment by the Fulton County district attorney for his attempt to overturn the election in Georgia, and possible charges from the Justice Department stemming from Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents. Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that Smith’s team had uncovered “significant” evidence the ex-president may have obstructed justice. And over the weekend, former attorney general Bill Barr warned Trump should be “most concerned about the documents case at Mar-a-Lago,” telling ABC’s This Week: “He had no claim to those documents—especially the classified documents. They belong to the government. I think he was jerking the government around.”