Justice Department prosecutors working on the investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith into political schemes after the last presidential election to keep Trump in power have taken to federal court in D.C. with a motion for judicial action compelling testimony from Mike Pence, reports say.
Pence was already subpoenaed, but a series of potentially complicating hurdles to actually hearing the answers prosecutors want have since emerged. Pence himself has spoken of using protections from the Constitution ordinarily covering the work of legislative officials as a defense against complete compliance, and Trump’s legal team has reportedly invoked executive privilege, although the scope of that invocation wasn’t described in great detail in a new report from CBS. If federal Judge Beryl Howell, who’s currently responsible for dealing with the Justice Department’s request, rules in investigators’ favor, the move would evidently overcome at least some of these privilege assertions, depending on the outcome of possible — and probably expected — appeals.
Pence, who was explicitly targeted by the violent mob that stormed the Capitol in 2021, didn’t even support the attempts by Trump and many close to him to keep the now ex-president in office for four more years despite his loss, although the then-president and others tried to pressure the then-vice president to take procedural action in Congress to block Biden’s win as it stood after certification by officials in every state. Pence’s idea is that the Constitutional protections he cited could also cover some of his actions considering his legal designation as President of the Senate. It’s in that capacity he was helping lead the Congressional proceedings meant to provide final certification of the presidential election outcome on January 6 itself.
Elsewhere, Smith and his team have already undertaken a long list of perceptibly forward investigative actions, subpoenaing testimony from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner as well.
Ivanka and Jared, both of whom formerly worked on Donald’s political operation inside and outside of the White House, did provide testimony to the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot, so there is a precedent for the pair actually complying with investigative demands of this sort. Ivanka told the committee she was accepting of statements from Bill Barr, who was Attorney General in the Trump administration, about the comprehensively documented integrity of the 2020 presidential election, leading to predictable outrage from her dad on Truth Social, his knock-off social media site. Trump said, in short, that Ivanka didn’t know what she was talking about, and now, neither Ivanka nor Jared are involving themselves with Trump’s 2024 campaign for president. Ivanka didn’t even attend the event at the southern Florida Trump resort Mar-a-Lago where the ex-president confirmed his long expected ambition to regain the presidency.