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Appeals court rejects Trump’s effort to block Pence from testifying in Jan. 6 probe

Trump can still appeal to the Supreme Court but has not indicated whether he will.
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Then-President Donald Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence in New York in 2019.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to block former Vice President Mike Pence from testifying before a federal grand jury that’s investigating the former president’s role in the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington refused to block Pence's subpoena after Trump filed an appeal this month to halt a lower court decision ordering Pence to testify. The decision is under seal, but the denial of Trump’s emergency motion was referenced in the court docket.

Trump can still appeal to the Supreme Court but has not indicated whether he will. A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

In previous instances where the appeals court has said Trump's senior aides or his defense attorney Evan Corcoran must testify, his legal team has opted not to fight the decisions further and those witnesses have quickly appeared before a grand jury.

Pence's subpoena was issued by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the Justice Department’s investigations into Trump’s role in Jan. 6 and his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving office.

Pence initially vowed to fight his subpoena, arguing that the “speech or debate” clause of the Constitution gave him immunity from testifying. A federal judge disagreed and handed down an order requiring Pence to testify.

Trump’s filing this month with the Circuit Court came days after a Pence adviser said the former vice president would not appeal the judge's order.

Other subpoenas from Smith have been sent to top county elections officials in key swing states for any and all communications involving Trump’s campaign, and 19 aides and allies who allegedly played a role in Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In March, a federal judge ruled that Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and other aides, including Dan Scavino and Stephen Miller, must provide testimony to the grand jury.