Former Vice President Mike Pence being subpoenaed shows that the special counsel’s criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, may be heading towards its dramatic conclusion, according to a former federal prosecutor.
Glenn Kirschner, a legal analyst, appeared on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour to discuss reports on how Jack Smith has subpoenaed Pence as part of the probe into the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 Election results and the events which led up to the insurrection at the Capitol.
In the weeks before the January 6 riot, Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed Pence could prevent Joe Biden being declared the winner of the 2020 Election by rejecting the electoral votes during the vice president’s purely ceremonial role of president officer of the Senate.
Even as the riot was taking place, Trump tweeted that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done” by preventing the 2020 election results from being certified.
In his new book, So Help Me God, Pence also described how Trump repeatedly pressured him to block the congressional certification of the election on January 6 and did so even though the former president’s own lawyer, John Eastman, knew it may be illegal to do so.
Speaking on the 11th Hour, Kirschner said that by now seeking documents and testimony from Pence, who is arguably one of the key witnesses in the investigation, Smith’s probe may be coming to an end.
“Often when we’re involved in large-scale grand jury investigations, we leave the most consequential, the most important, witnesses for the end,” Kirschner said.
“Why? Because we want to develop all of the information and evidence we can from all of the other sort of lesser witnesses, because we might want to use that information, we might want to confront the most important witnesses with everything else we’ve learned.
“So, if the Trump insurrection investigation were an action adventure movie, it kind of feels like we’ve now entered the car chase phase and we’re kind of heading toward the climax,” Kirschner added.
During the House Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6 attack, a number of Trump allies refused to comply with the subpoena issued to them while citing a disputed defense of executive privilege.
Former White House senior adviser Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in jail after he was convicted of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with his January 6 subpoena. Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is also awaiting trial after being charged with a similar offense after being subpoenaed by the January 6 panel.
At the end of their final live hearing, the January 6 committee voted to subpoena Trump in an attempt to force him to testify under oath.
However, Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the panel, confirmed in December that it was withdrawing its subpoena as the panel had completed its investigation into the insurrection and the committee would be shutting down when the new GOP-controlled congressional term began in early January regardless.
When asked whether Pence could also cite executive privilege in order to refuse to testify, Kirschner said that the former vice president “has no winning legal argument” on that front.
“It would be pointless to make, it would only involve delaying the ultimate outcome, which is Mike Pence appearing before the grand jury,” Kirscher told The 11th Hour.
Mike Pence has been contacted for comment.