Pence attended closed-door testimony on April 27 and answered questions for more than six hours. The Q&A has remained almost entirely hidden from the public, but it nevertheless marks a historic moment in Smith’s unprecedented criminal investigation into Trump and his allies’ efforts to overthrow the 2020 election. .
Boasberg’s newly-disclosed ruling addresses nearly every category of questions prosecutors sought to raise, including pressure from people to simply exclude or refuse to count Biden’s electors. It is clear that it requested Mr. Pence to answer to.
Both Trump and Pence have fought hard to limit the questions Smith’s team can pose to the former vice president. Boasberg flatly denied Trump’s claim that his conversation with Pence was protected by executive privilege. But Mr Pence took a different stance, arguing that he should be exempt from questioning by the Justice Department, just like members of Congress.
This immunity, granted by the Constitution’s “Speech or Debate Clause,” is intended to protect members of parliament and parliamentary officials from forced testimony to the executive branch. On January 6, 2021, Mr. Pence emphasized that he is fulfilling his constitutional role as “Senator,” presiding over the counting of electoral college votes in both houses of Congress. He argued that the role would give him parliamentary privileges.
Mr. Boasberg agreed with Mr. Pence, and his ruling is the first finding that the Vice President should be treated as a mixed member of the Executive and Legislative Councils, and protected from both depending on the circumstances. But he also noted that the “speech or debate” clause is severely limited and does not protect outsiders from trying to persuade lawmakers to do “illegal” acts.
Boasberg said in the ruling that Pence would have to answer questions about virtually every agenda item proposed by Smith’s team, with the exception of questions about preparation and planning for the actual work of tallying the electors. said.
In the final frenzied weeks leading up to Jan. 6, President Trump relied on Pence to refuse to count Joe Biden’s electoral votes on Jan. 6 and single-handedly tried to sabotage the transition of power. . As Speaker of Congress, Mr. Pence was tasked with counting the electoral votes and finalizing the electoral votes. result. President Trump called Pence on the morning of January 6, reprimanding him for refusing to acquiesce to him minutes before heading to the Capitol and urging him to reconsider.
Pence’s refusal dashed Trump’s last-ditch effort to cling to power and sparked an angry mob of Trump supporters who looted the Capitol later that day.
Despite Mr. Smith’s clear victory, Mr. Boasberg has occasionally ordered the Justice Department to hold sweeping debates over restrictions on speech and debate clauses, which he said were too narrow.
and edited summary As for Boasberg’s unsealing on Friday, Justice Department attorney James Pearce argued that Pence should not enjoy any protection from the speech and debate clause. In fact, Pierce’s position contradicted positions repeatedly taken by the Justice Department in recent years to avoid lawsuits against the vice president and other congressional officials, he admitted to reversing. He said the change was due to a lack of thorough analysis in previous lawsuits.
In Pence’s own words A newly opened abstract, Arguing that the speech or debate clause offered him broad protection, Boasberg ruled that this was too broad an interpretation.