Donald Trump is planning to fight an order for former Vice President Mike Pence to testify before the grand jury investigating the former president’s efforts to cling to power despite losing the 2020 presidential election, according to multiple news reports.
Trump’s team filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Monday to contest an earlier court decision saying Pence should comply with a subpoena for his testimony and documents.
Trump is moving to block Pence from appearing before the grand jury on the grounds of executive privilege — an argument that failed to convince the court in Trump’s earlier efforts to bar the testimony of other top aides, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Pence initially contested the subpoena and vowed to continue to do so. But earlier this month he indicated he was prepared to testify after James Boasberg, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., agreed with his argument that the Constitution’s “speech and debate clause” applied to him in his role as president of the Senate.
“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,” Devin O’Malley, an aide for Pence, said last week.
Pence could provide important information as a witness, including about how he was pressured by Trump and his allies to use his role presiding over the Senate’s election certification to undo now-President Joe Biden’s win.
Pence has criticized Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and distanced himself from Trump’s election lies. The two are likely to face off in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
“President Trump was wrong,” Pence said in March. “I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
The latest appeal comes as several probes around Trump have heated up. Last week, the ex-president was formally indicted on 34 charges related to falsifying business records over his role in a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied wrongdoing.