(Presidentialwire.com)- One legal expert opined recently that Mike Pence receiving a subpoena as part of the Department of Justice’s investigation into the events January 6, 2021, is a big sign that they are “seriously considering” levying criminal charges against Pence’s one-time boss, former President Donald Trump.
Jack Smith, the special counsel who’s leading the investigation into how Trump tried to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election results, summoned Pence to testify to them as well as provide some documents.
Because of how close Pence was to Trump – since he was serving as his vice president at the time – he’s seen as one of the key witnesses that the DOJ would love to use on their side.
Trump and Pence had a very solid relationship at one point, but that began to deteriorate following the 2020 presidential election. On numerous occasions, Trump said that Pence had the power as president of the Senate to not certify the results of the Electoral College so that Trump could retain the presidency.
However, Pence denied that he had that power, and ultimately chose to move forward with his role in the Senate being a ceremonial one rather than one that gave him any actual real power – at least to that extent.
Getting Pence to give his testimony under oath to the DOJ is a key step for the prosecutors in the case, former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade told Newsweek recently. The law professor at the University of Michigan also said the move to subpoena Pence will likely set up another showdown where Trump will argue executive privilege over that testimony.
As McQuade explained:
“It signals that DOJ is seriously considering criminal charges against Trump for January 6. While it does not mean charges are a certainty, DOJ would not take such a significant step as subpoenaing a former VP if they thought the case was unlikely to result in charges.”
She added that Pence’s subpoena would suggest that the DOJ is close to actually levying charges against Trump, though it’s uncertain at this point when that would happen and what charges he’d be facing.
Her thinking in this regard is based on the fact that prosecutors typically will hold off on questioning their top witnesses until closer toward the end of their investigation. They do this because it gives them a chance to learn “as much as they can about the facts.”
Trump’s legal team has already said that they would probably work to prevent Pence from complying with the subpoena that was sent to him, as they planned to cite executive privilege in the manner. That privilege ultimately keeps any communications that happened between the president and other members of the executive branch from being released to the public.
To successfully assert this privilege, though, a former president would have to receive the approval of the incumbent leader in the White House. President Joe Biden has already denied that request once before, and he’d likely turn Trump down yet again.