A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Pence must testify to a federal grand jury as part of a special counsel investigation into Trump’s actions to overturn the result of the 2020 election, including the events of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“We’re currently talking to our counsel about the balance of that decision and determining the way forward, but I have nothing to hide,” Pence told reporters in Urbandale, Iowa. “I’ve written and spoken extensively about that day and the days leading up to it.”
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Pence’s lawyers tried to limit his testimony in the special counsel’s investigation, citing constitutional protections on the separation of powers. Because Pence was serving a ceremonial role as president of the Senate on Jan. 6, his lawyers argued, the Constitution’s “speech and debate” clause should shield him.
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Pence has some protections under the “speech and debate” clause. However, Pence will be compelled to testify about any potentially illegal acts Trump may have committed.
Pence said Wednesday he plans to meet with his legal team later this week to decide whether to appeal the decision.
“The reason to challenge a subpoena of a vice president in their role as president of the Senate was an important constitutional argument to have. Now, for the first time ever, a federal court has recognized that those protections extend to a vice president,” Pence told reporters. “As I said today here in Iowa, it’s all about keeping faith with the Constitution.”
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Pence spoke at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale on Wednesday morning. Gingham-clad waiters, bearing coffee and eggs, struggled to weave through the packed crowd at the Machine Shed restaurant.
Pence is expected to run for president in 2024. His speech to the conservative club focused on the country’s economic woes, his critiques of the Biden administration, and his commitment to Christian and constitutional values.
Pence also spoke about his support for “common sense reforms” to Social Security and Medicare, suggesting that the federal government gradually limit the benefits in the coming decades. That’s a controversial stance among Republicans, as party leaders in the U.S. House and Senate have pledged not to make cuts to the programs.
Pence said the grand jury subpoena will not influence his decision about whether to run for president. He said Americans “long for leadership that will take us back to the policies of the Trump-Pence administration.”
“But, they want to see us return to a threshold of civility and respect that will make it possible for us to solve these problems facing future generations,” he said.
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USA Today contributed reporting.