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Appeals court balks at Trump effort to block Pence’s Jan. 6 testimony

In the Jan. 6 case, Mike Pence says he has "nothing to hide." Donald Trump appears to have a very different perspective.


UPDATE (April 27, 2023, 6:04 p.m. ET): Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday testified before the federal grand jury investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Former Vice President Mike Pence didn’t want to testify to the federal grand jury investigating Jan. 6 and the Republican efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In fact, the Hoosier fought to get out of it.

But a federal judge recently ordered Pence to comply with a subpoena from special counsel Jack Smith’s office, and a few weeks ago, the former vice president said he’d forgo the appeals process and answer prosecutors’ questions.

“We’ll obey the law, we’ll tell the truth,” he told CBS News last week, in an interview that aired on “Face the Nation.”

For Trump, the idea that his former White House partner would obey the law and tell the truth was probably a bit unsettling. Indeed, the former president filed suit in the hopes of blocking Pence from testifying.

As NBC News reported, that effort isn’t going especially well.

A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to block former Vice President Mike Pence from testifying before a federal grand jury that’s investigating the former president’s role in the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington refused to block Pence’s subpoena after Trump filed an appeal this month to halt a lower court decision ordering Pence to testify. The decision is under seal, but the denial of Trump’s emergency motion was referenced in the court docket.

The former president and his lawyers might yet take their chances with the U.S. Supreme Court, but it’s not yet clear whether they’ll bother.

Pence recently told a conservative media outlet that he has “nothing to hide.” It would appear his former boss has a very different perspective in mind.

As for how we arrived at this point, let’s revisit our earlier coverage for those who might benefit from a refresher.

As part of the special counsel investigation into Trump’s efforts to stay in power despite his defeat, Smith recognized the former vice president as a uniquely important witness. Pence was not only hunted by Trump’s radicalized followers during the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol, but he was also pressured by the then-president to participate in an illegal scheme to overturn the 2020 election results.

For those investigating possible crimes surrounding the “Big Lie” and the insurrectionist riot, few people, if anyone, have more relevant insights than the Indiana Republican. His sworn testimony would likely be foundational to the broader case.

So, to no one’s surprise, the special counsel’s office recently subpoenaed Pence. The Hoosier balked, claiming the summons was, in his words, “unconstitutional.” It was an odd claim, which didn’t fare well, and it now appears the former vice president will finally answer questions under oath — possibly as early as this week.

Watch this space.

This post updates our recent related coverage.