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Donald Trump faces a “real danger zone” from former Vice President Mike Pence’s testimony in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into the former president’s alleged efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election results, according to former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.
Pence announced this week that he will comply with DOJ special counsel Jack Smith’s subpoena ordering him to testify in his probe into Trump’s alleged attempts to void the 2020 presidential election results. The investigation began with a focus on the January 6, 2021, riot—which saw a group of Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol building allegedly motivated by Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud that he said cost him the election—but has expanded to include fake elector schemes allegedly organized by Trump allies.
The former vice president initially sought to squash the subpoena, saying that his role as Senate president gave him “speech or debate” clause privilege, which states that members of Congress cannot be questioned over legislative duties. Ultimately, a judge ruled that Pence must testify before the grand jury, but does not need to answer questions directly related to this role.
Pence’s agreement to testify does not bode well for Trump, according to Kirschner, who serves as an MSNBC legal analyst.
Kirschner described the ruling that mandates Pence’s testimony as “an important victory both legally and tactically” for Smith during an appearance on MSNBC’s The Katie Phang Show on Sunday morning, explaining that Pence will have essential evidence to his case.
“Mike Pence has some sharply incriminating information that comes directly from the mouth of Donald Trump. That’s going to be direct evidence, not circumstantial evidence because Donald Trump waged a relentless pressure campaign to do—let’s call it what it is—to violate the law. The Electoral Count Act,” he said.
Kirschner said the “savvy” ruling “took away a possible avenue of appeal” for Pence by siding with him on the “speech or debate” clause. He said privilege would only apply to the “fleeting time he was presiding over the Senate,” which he does not believe is the most relevant part of his testimony.
“And now we see Mike Pence is not appealing, so this is a real danger zone for Donald Trump,” he added.
Trump’s spokespersons have previously downplayed Kirschner’s legal analysis, previously telling Newsweek, “Glenn is a notorious trafficker of wild conspiracy theories and dubious legal analysis. I would expect nothing more from a clout-chasing MSNBC contributor who has been shunned by the legal community at large.”
The DOJ’s investigation is focusing not only on the Capitol riot, but also an alleged attempt by Trump’s team to install fake electors to the Electoral College in order to falsely declare him the winner of key battleground states—thus overturning the 2020 presidential election.
Smith was appointed last November to oversee the January 6 investigation, as well as the DOJ’s probe into classified documents allegedly found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last year. The investigations come as Trump, who has maintained his innocence throughout, is again seeking the presidency. He announced his campaign in the 2024 Republican primary last November, and Pence is viewed as a potential opponent, though he has not made official any plans about his political future.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign for comment via email.
Trump Faces ‘Real Danger Zone’ From Mike Pence Testimony: Kirschner
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