A federal judge has rejected Trump’s assertion of executive privilege.
A top D.C. District Court judge has immediately rejected former President Donald Trump’s assertion of executive privilege to prevent former Vice President Mike Pence from testifying before a grand jury investigating attempts to subvert the 2020 election. ABC News.
At the same time, the judge briefly upheld parts of a separate legal challenge brought by Pence’s lawyers, who argued that they should be exempted from releasing records or answering certain questions that oversee his duties as president of the Senate. Jan. 6, 2021 for proper certification of election.
According to sources, D.C. Chief Judge James Bosberg ordered Pence to answer special counsel Jack Smith’s questions about any illegal activity on Trump’s part.
Pence’s team argued that such communications could run afoul of the Speech and Debate Clause, which shields congressional officials from legal action related to their work.
The special counsel’s office declined to comment to ABC News. Spokesmen for Pence and Trump did not immediately respond.
Bosberg’s rulings came four days after his and Pence’s attorneys appeared in district court to argue their challenge to a subpoena from the special counsel.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump’s or Pence’s legal teams plan to appeal the rulings.
Pence has previously vowed to fight the subpoena to the Supreme Court if necessary, most recently telling ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Carl, “We’re going to respect the court’s decisions, and that could take us to the highest court in the country . . .”
In a February filing with Pence, he sought documents and testimony related to a failed attempt by Trump and his allies to rig the 2020 election.
Bosberg’s orders rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege over testimony from several key aides, including his predecessor as D.C. chief judge, Judge Beryl Howell, his former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
In a letter reviewed by ABC News, White House special counsel Richard Saber told Jack Smith that President Joe Biden would not assert executive privilege over Pence’s testimony.
“These events — which represented the most serious attack on the functions of the federal government since the Civil War — threatened not only the safety of Congress and others in the Capitol, but also the democratic principles embedded in our history and constitution,” Smith wrote to Smith in February, after Smith reached the White House. To determine whether the president plans to assert the privilege in jury appearances.
“In light of these unique circumstances, President Biden has determined that it is not in the public interest to assert executive authority over efforts to thwart the orderly transition of power under our Constitution.”