Former Vice President Pence will not appeal a ruling requiring him to testify in front of a grand jury about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol, aides said Tuesday.
A federal judge last week ruled that Pence had to provide testimony about former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, though the judge said Pence would not be compelled to testify about his role in Congress.
Pence’s team had argued he was protected under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause in his role as president of the Senate during the events of Jan. 6.
“The Court’s landmark and historic ruling affirmed for the first time in history that the Speech or Debate Clause extends to the Vice President of the United States,” Pence aide Devin O’Malley said in a statement. “Having vindicated that principle of the Constitution, Vice President Pence will not appeal the Judge’s ruling and will comply with the subpoena as required by law.”
Special counsel Jack Smith earlier this year subpoenaed Pence for testimony as part of his investigation into Trump’s conduct around the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Pence and his team had argued that serving as the former president of the Senate essentially made him a member of the legislative branch on the day of the riots, and he would therefore be shielded from the subpoena under the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution.
While Pence’s team felt the judge’s ruling last week was too narrowly applied, the former vice president had been clear he was challenging the subpoena on constitutional grounds.
The ruling will allow Pence to testify about some of Trump’s conduct leading up to Jan. 6 without having to divulge details about what happened on the actual day. His testimony could happen sometime in the next month, though the exact timing is still to be determined.
Pence, who is weighing whether to challenge Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, could be a crucial witness for Smith as he gathers information about Trump’s actions around Jan. 6.
The former vice president in his memoir detailed some of the conversations he had with Trump in the weeks leading up to that day, writing about how the former president repeatedly pressured him to consider rejecting the 2020 election results. Pence ultimately certified the results, saying that the constitution did not give him the unilateral power to overturn the will of the people.
The judge’s ruling about Pence’s testimony is separate from an effort by Trump to shield Pence from testifying on executive privilege grounds. A federal judge late last month rejected those privilege claims, though Trump and his legal team could still appeal that ruling.
Smith is overseeing two concurrent probes into Trump: One focused on the events of Jan. 6, and the other looking at whether Trump mishandled classified documents upon leaving the White House.
Updated at 3:50 p.m.