CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Former Vice President Mike Pence vowed Wednesday to resist special counsel Jack Smith’s decision to subpoena his testimony in an investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election, calling the move “unprecedented and unconstitutional.”
“We’ll stand on that principle, and we’ll take that case as far as it needs to go — if need be to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Pence said at an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Because to me, it’s an issue of the separation of powers. “
More:Mike Pence subpoenaed by Justice Department special counsel in Trump investigations
Pence argued he is shielded by the Constitution’s “speech or debate clause,” which protects members of Congress from law enforcement scrutiny over their speech and debate in the chamber. The clause says they “shall not be questioned in any other place.”
“On the day of Jan. 6, I was acting as President of the Senate, presiding over a joint session described in the Constitution itself,” he told reporters. “And so I believe that that Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution actually prohibits the executive branch from compelling me to appear in a court, as the Constitution says, or in ‘any other place.’”
It’s not clear whether Pence’s legal argument will be persuasive. That clause of the Constitution has typically been applied directly to members of Congress or their staffers.
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Pence said he’s aware that Trump will bring a claim of executive privilege, calling that “his fight.”
“My fight is on the principle of separation of powers in the Constitution of the United States,” he said.
The issue arises as Pence explores a 2024 White House run against his former running mate, Trump. Trump has already announced his campaign.
More:As GOP starting gate for 2024 presidential race, Iowa sees surge of announced and potential candidates
Pence has been a regular presence in Iowa, which will kick off the Republicans’ 2024 primary process with its first-in-the-nation caucuses early next year.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who formally launched her presidential bid this week, is scheduled to campaign in Iowa next week.
Asked about her entry into the race, Pence wished her well.
“She may have more company soon in the race for president,” he said. “And I promise folks here in Iowa and all of you I’ll keep you posted.”
Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at email@example.com or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.
Story Credit: usatoday.com