(DCWatchdog.com) – Former Vice President Mike Pence is planning to dispute a grand jury subpoena from special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to change the 2020 election results, according to a report.
Smith was appointed by President Joe Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland, to probe the claims that the former president interfered with confirming the results.
The same special counsel also oversees the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.
A report by Politico reveals that Mike Pence is preparing a legal challenge to the DOJ subpoena to get out of testifying.
However, Pence will not base his challenge on executive privilege but on the fact that, as vice president, he was also the president of the United States Senate.
His lawyers will argue that congressional officials are protected from legal proceedings based on their work due to a constitutional provision called the “speech or debate” clause.
“He [Pence] thinks that the ‘speech or debate’ clause is a core protection for Article I, for the legislature,” said an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter.
“He feels it really goes to the heart of some separation of powers issues. He feels duty-bound to maintain that protection, even if it means litigating it,” the source added.
“[Pence’s legal challenge will be] the first time it’s ever been clearly expressed that the vice president is claiming his own constitutional privilege,” also commented a former aide of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The report about Pence’s plans to dispute the subpoena comes after ABC News earlier claimed special counsel Jack Smith had struck an agreement with the former vice president’s legal team about the warrant after negotiating for several months.
Pence’s attitude towards the subpoena seems to have changed because of last Friday’s FBI search of his home in Carmel, Indiana.
The search led to the discovery of a single classified document after a dozen classified records were found in his house in January.
The former vice president has cooperated with the federal government on the matter, including by contacting the National Archives agency soon after his lawyers found the papers.
“Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry,” his representative Greg Jacob told the National Archives in a letter obtained by CNN.
According to Politico’s sources, “the growing drama surrounding the ongoing investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified material is prompting Pence to reconsider his approach.”
That is because Pence would prefer not to be viewed as too cooperative with federal prosecutors while Trump remains the top Republican Party figure, and the former vice president is potentially preparing his own 2024 presidential candidacy.