Federal Judge: Pence Must Testify in January 6 Investigation 

March 28, 2023

A federal judge has ruled that former Vice President Pence must testify before a grand jury about his discourses with then-President Trump leading up to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the Capitol.

In a ruling that remains under seal, the judge said that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on the day of January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate and undertook his duty to certify the Electoral College vote count that Trump lost to President Biden. 

Pence has argued that it was because he was serving in that capacity in Congress on January 6 that he’s shielded under the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution.

The clause essentially states that speech inside the Capitol by Senators and Representatives is privileged and “shall not be questioned in any other place.”

At his “stop the steal” rally ahead of the deadly riot at the Capitol that day, Trump said to the crowd, “I hope Mike Pence is going to do the right thing” and refuse to certify the Electoral College results. 

Pence was 40 feet from the mob when he fled from the rioters inside the Capitol building, shouting, “Hang Mike Pence!”

In February, prosecutors in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office had requested that the chief judge of DC’s federal district court compel Pence to testify.

The court’s chief judge at that time had been Beryl Howell. She has since been replaced by James Boasberg, and apparently it was he who ultimately ruled on the Pence decision. 

Pence still has the ability to appeal the decision.

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