A federal appeals court has rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid to block his former vice president, Mike Pence, from testifying.
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order Wednesday denying the former president’s last-ditch effort to prevent or limit Pence’s testimony. The order remains sealed to protect grand jury secrecy.
Pence’s team previously signaled it would follow the orders of the court. It’s unclear if Trump intends to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court or the full bench of the D.C. Circuit.
While Trump argued that Pence’s testimony should be barred or limited by executive privilege, Pence took a different tack. He contended that his role presiding over Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 — fulfilling his constitutional role as president of the Senate — entitled him to immunity under the so-called “speech or debate” clause, which protects Congress from Executive Branch intrusion.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg rejected Trump’s argument but agreed with Pence that the congressional immunity applied on certain topics — a historic decision that for the first time found vice presidents enjoy a form of privilege.
Although Boasberg’s ruling was narrower than Pence’s attorney, Emmet Flood, had argued for, Pence opted not to appeal the decision.
Earlier this month, Trump’s team challenged the ruling from Judge Boasberg. (RELATED: Trump Appeals Order For Pence To Testify In Jan. 6 Probe)
According to The Hill, the ruling ordered him to answer questions about Trump’s efforts to stay in power ahead of Jan. 6 but agreed Pence’s role as president of the Senate allowed for him to be shielded from being questioned about the day itself.
The ruling is a victory for Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating Trump’s alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence in February, triggering challenges from Trump and Pence.