Lawyers for former President Donald Trump are expected to fight the special counsel’s subpoena of former Vice President Mike Pence on executive privilege grounds, according to a source familiar with the Trump legal team’s discussions.
Pence has been subpoenaed by special counsel Jack Smith, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News Thursday.
Smith was appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the Justice Department’s inquiries into Trump’s role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, as well as his handling of classified documents after he left office. The subpoena is related to the Jan. 6 investigation, the source said.
The Trump campaign has not responded to a request for comment, and various Trump world attorneys declined to comment.
CBS News first reported that Trump’s lawyers planned to fight the subpoena.
In December, NBC News reported that Smith had subpoenaed local officials in key presidential swing states for all communications involving Trump, his campaign and a series of aides and allies who assisted in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Smith’s move indicated that he was looking into a scheme that involved Trump’s fake electors, a slate of individuals who signed documents asserting they were their states’ rightful electors and making false claims that Trump was the victor in those states.
The fake electors also submitted false certifications of Trump victories to the National Archives in hopes of having Pence substitute them for the actual electoral votes that made Joe Biden president, according evidence gathered by the House committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
Trump had tried to claim executive privilege multiple times to block the committee from obtaining documents it had sought during its investigation.
The committee devoted an entire hearing to Pence’s role on the day of the riot as well as the intense public and private pressure Trump applied to Pence to get him to interfere with the electoral count.
Pence said in a Wall Street Journal opinion article that he told Trump it would be illegal for him to interfere in the count during an Oval Office meeting with lawyer John Eastman, one of the architects of a memo that outlined a scenario in which Pence could refuse to certify the Electoral College count.
Pence, who presided over Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results, ultimately performed his ceremonial duty in the aftermath of the riot.