Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke publicly for the first time about his plans to fight a subpoena issued in the Justice Department’s 2020 election subversion investigation, saying Wednesday that his fight was about ” separation of powers” and “defending the prerogatives that I had as president of the Senate.”
Pence weighed in while at an event in Minneapolis and is expected to address it again when he makes a speech in Iowa later Wednesday afternoon.
“My fight is on the separation of powers. My fight against the DOJ subpoena very simply is on defending the prerogatives that I had as president of the Senate to preside over the Joint Session of Congress on January 6,” Pence told reporters in Minneapolis.
“For me this is a moment where you have to decide where you stand and I stand on the Constitution of the United States,” he added.
Pence is one of several former members of Trump’s inner circle whose testimony federal investigators have sought, as they scrutinize the events leading up to and during the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. That probe, as well as the federal investigation into Trump’s handling of documents from his White House that were found at Mar-a-Lago, have taken a more aggressive tack since special counsel Jack Smith took over both investigations.
Sources previously told CNN that Pence will raise claims under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which protects legislators from certain law enforcement actions if the conduct in question is linked to their legislative duty. Pence is expected to point to the role he played, when he was vice president, as president of the Senate. In that role, he presided over Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results on January 6.
Other witnesses have raised Speech or Debate Clause arguments in efforts to resist subpoenas in the DOJ probe and in the other investigations into January 6. But Pence’s plans to invoke the clause in his role as president of the Senate is believed to be untrod legal ground.