Since leaving office in early 2021, former Vice President Mike Pence has addressed his experiences on Jan. 6, and the pressure he felt to participate in Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The Indiana Republican wrote a book. He has published op-eds. He’s sat down for plenty of interviews with plenty of news organizations.
But for reasons that have never made much sense, Pence has balked when asked to answer questions under oath as part of an official proceeding. As NBC News reported, that will soon change.
Former Vice President Mike Pence will not appeal a federal judge’s order that he testify in the special counsel’s probe of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, his adviser announced Wednesday. The decision not to fight the order could provide special counsel Jack Smith with remarkable access to one of the key people with critical insight into Trump’s thinking and efforts to cling to power.
For those who might benefit from a refresher, let’s revisit our earlier coverage and review how we arrived at this point.
As part of the special counsel investigation into the Jan. 6 attack and Trump’s efforts to stay in power despite his defeat, Jack 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: A federal judge last week ordered Pence to comply with the subpoena and testify to the grand jury.
It wasn’t a total loss for Pence and his lawyers: Judge James Boasberg — the chief judge of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and a jurist who was first appointed to the bench by George W. Bush — said the “speech or debate” clause of the Constitution meant there would be some questions the former vice president wouldn’t have to answer, but testifying about his conversations with Trump would be fair game.
It was an open question as to whether or not Pence and his lawyers would appeal. We learned yesterday that they will not, and the former president is now prepared to cooperate with the investigation.
Pence told a conservative media outlet last week that he has “nothing to hide.” He’ll now have an opportunity to prove it.
This post updates our recent related coverage.