On Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence appeared before the federal grand jury in Washington DC to answer questions about then-President Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election, just one day after a federal appeals court rejected an attempt by Trump to stop Pence from testifying, the Associated Press reported
While Pence’s testimony is sealed, his appearance before the grand jury was confirmed by a source who spoke to the Associated Press anonymously.
On Wednesday night, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected Trump’s last-ditch attempt to prevent the grand jury from questioning Pence, paving the way for Thursday’s testimony.
According to the New York Times, the former vice president’s testimony is considered vital in the grand jury probe since he took part in conversations at the White House in the weeks between the 2020 election and the riot at the Capitol on January 6.
Federal prosecutors have been trying to question Pence for several months, first through requests from the Justice Department for an interview and then through a subpoena by special counsel Jack Smith to testify before the grand jury.
In March, Federal District Court of Washington Chief Judge James E. Boasberg ordered Pence to appear before the grand jury in two sealed rulings that struck down two separate challenges to keep him from answering certain questions.
One of the challenges, brought by Pence, sought to limit his testimony through the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution protecting the separation of powers. Pence argued that his role as president of the Senate protected him from legal scrutiny by the executive branch, including the Department of Justice.
Judge Boasberg ruled that while Pence could use the “speech and debate” clause to claim some protections against testifying, he would still have to answer questions related to possible illegal acts committed by Trump. Earlier this month, Pence announced that he would not appeal Judge Boasberg’s decision.
But two weeks ago, Trump’s lawyers asked the appeals court to reverse Judge Boasberg’s second ruling on the Trump team’s attempts to narrow the scope of questioning in Pence’s testimony based on executive privilege.
And on Wednesday, the appeals court rejected Trump’s request to stop the grand jury from questioning Pence until after Trump’s broader appeal is considered.