Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.
USAWorld News

We now know why Mike Pence had to testify in the Trump investigation on January 6

A federal judge on Friday unveiled a potentially landmark ruling that forced former Vice President Mike Pence to testify earlier this year before a grand jury investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack and efforts to void the election. 2020 presidential.

Pence initially fought a subpoena from Special Counsel Jack Smith. But in March, Pence hailed what he called a historic decision by Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg of Washington, agreeing that Pence could remain silent on topics that specifically dealt with his role in Congress on 6 January, when he presided over the Senate in joint session to confirm the results of the presidential election, which was interrupted by a violent pro-Trump mob.

Pence called Boasberg’s decision the first to explain how a vice president can also enjoy the constitutional protection lawmakers enjoy from being compelled to testify even in criminal investigations.

Boasberg’s decision and reasoning had remained secret until now because grand jury rules generally prohibit anyone other than witnesses from discussing it. News outlets asked the judge to unseal them, and on Friday he granted their request. Boasberg said the repeated talks and disclosures by Pence and his attorneys removed the need for secrecy.

Boasberg’s 18-page opinion, released in March, reveals that the court granted Pence the privilege of avoiding testifying only in response to very specific questions. In particular, prosecutors reportedly wanted to question Pence about failed efforts by Trump and others to pressure him, Trump’s Justice Department and key swing state officials to void the election. This includes attempts by Trump lawyers to substitute allies for certified voters in some states that Joe Biden won. Boasberg does not seem to rule out such questions.

“The Court finds that, although the clause applies to the Vice President, it does not cover the vast majority of what the Special Counsel is seeking to ask of him. The Court will therefore largely dismiss the former Vice President’s motion Boasberg wrote in her decision.

The Constitution’s “speech or debate clause” was intended to protect elected members of Congress who conduct the legislative business of the people from coercion or intimidation by agents of the president – such as the threat of investigation or imprisonment – a basic separation of powers principle.

But in a key finding, Boasberg said the protection is limited to the official duties of a legislator, or steps taken to prepare for them, and does not extend to “communications urging a legislator to act unlawfully.”

Boasberg drew a line between Pence’s actions preparing for and delivering the speech on the ground on January 6, as well as advice from his internal staff about the scope of his authorities that day, who were protected, and Trump’s conversations or others encouraging Pence to stop the congressional congress. confirmation of the election results, which the Vice President’s own aides told him he was not legally authorized to do.

“The bottom line is that conversations urging Pence to reject voters on Jan. 6 are not shielded” from investigation, Boasberg said.

Pence sought to create a wider range of conversations, including those intended to “educate a legislator on an issue before him,” even incidentally.

But that “would cover any conversation with anyone with an opinion… This cannot be the rule,” Boasberg wrote. “Instead, the touchstone is whether those conversations were integral to the vice president’s performance of his official duties.”

Boasberg did not unseal his entire opinion, leaving redactions removing references to any specific testimony or the factual or strategic basis for prosecutors to seek it, as the investigation is ongoing. The Justice Department did not appeal a ruling by Boasberg earlier Friday in which he said he planned to unseal redacted documents.

“The core of what the press is asking here, and what the Court plans to release, is the legal discussion surrounding the dispute that Pence has already revealed,” Boasberg wrote in Friday’s decision.

Pence, who is running against Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has positioned himself as a reluctant witness who has fought demands for his testimony. Still, he discussed the events in his book released late last year, “So Help Me God,” and in promotional interviews.

Top aides Marc Short and Greg Jacob, Pence’s chief of staff and chief counsel as vice president, spoke at the Justice Department and also appeared before the grand jury. Jacob told congressional investigators, for example, that Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman, admitted to him that efforts to get Pence to block Biden’s Electoral College victory would violate voter count law and that Trump had been told that would be illegal.

Pence said Trump’s actions endangered everyone on Capitol Hill, including Pence’s family members trapped with him there, but publicly downplayed Trump’s criminal culpability.

“Well, I don’t know if it’s criminal to listen to bad advice from lawyers,” Pence told NBC’s “Meet the Press” last year. “The truth is, what the president was repeating was what he was hearing from this group of lawyers around him.”

Opinion of Chief Justice James Boasberg


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

Back to top button