A federal judge has been requested by the Justice Department to Mike, former vice president of force Pence to testify fully in front of a grand jury investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to Overturn 2020 Election, requesting to Trump’s attempts to stop any of his efforts are cut short to use executive privilege to Protect Mr. Pence Two people who are familiar with the subject said that they answered questions and provided their opinions on Thursday.
The request — amounting to A pre-emptive action to compel Mr. Pence’s testimony — came before the former vice president had even appeared in front of the grand jury, and before any privilege claims had actually been raised in court.
In Washington’s Federal District Court, the sealed motion is the latest in an ongoing behind-the-scenes battle. This began with the Justice Department. Now, it is being handled by Jack Smith. to Cut through all the privilege claims that witness close to Trump repeatedly mentioned the need to make an effort. to avoid answering questions.
The privilege disputes have been handled by Judge Beryl A. Howell, the chief federal judge in Washington, who oversees all of the district’s grand jury matters, which as a rule are conducted in secret. Expect Judge Howell to be there. to Next month, she will step down and be succeeded by another chief judge.
People were close to each other last week to Mr. Pence Previewed his attempts to You can fight the grand jury subpoenas by claiming that the former vice-president planned to argue that his role as the president of the Senate meant he was protected from legal scrutiny by the executive branch — including the Justice Department — under the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause. That clause is not intended to Protect the separation of power.
Such an approach would be a departure from the more traditional argument that a vice president’s interactions with a president would be subject to Presidents can assert executive privilege to Protect certain executive branch internal deliberations.
But the special counsel’s motion to compel Mr. Pence’s testimony — reported earlier by CBS News — did not address his expected arguments about the “speech or debate” According to two sources familiar with the matter, clause. Instead, the discussion focused on executive privilege and advocated for the proactive argument of Mr. Pence Should not be allowed to avoid answering questions by invoking it on Mr. Trump’s behalf, the people said.
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For Mr. Pence declined to comment. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office also declined to comment.
Two former aides were fired in the autumn to Mr. PenceMarc Short and Greg Jacob asserted privileges of attorney-client and executive confidentiality during a bid to limit their own testimony in front of the grand jury investigating Mr. Trump’s role in overturning the election. A sealed motion was filed by the Justice Department at that time to seek to Both men eventually answered the questions and were forced to testify.
Not long after, Pat A. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, the two top lawyers in Mr. Trump’s White House, tried a similar gambit. Both men won their cases, but the Justice Department prevailed. to Answer questions before the grand jury
Witnesses at your fingertips to Trump has also claimed privilege as part of his effort to avoid answering questions in a separate grand jury investigation: one that is examining Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents that he took with him after leaving office to Mar-a-Lago is his private residence and club in Palm Beach, Fla.
This month, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers in that case, M. Evan Corcoran, invoked attorney-client privilege after being subpoenaed to Answer questions before the grand jury The special counsel’s office responded by filing a motion to Judge Howell asks her to You can set aside privilege claims under the so-called crime-fraud exemption.
Prosecutors can use the crime-fraud exemption. to They can work with attorney-client privilege to get around it if they convince a Judge that there is a reason. to Consider that you have received legal advice, or other legal services in the commission of a crime.
Trump’s lawyers filed this response stating that the exception for crime-fraud did not apply. to Mr. Corcoran.