Trump’s lawyers should fight Pence’s subpoena on the grounds of executive privilege

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers are expected to fight the subpoena of former Vice President Mike Pence’s special counsel on the grounds of executive privilege, according to a source familiar with the discussions at Trump’s legal team.

Pence is being 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 investigation into Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, as well as his handling of confidential documents after he left office. The subpoena is related to the Jan. 6 investigation, the source said.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment, and various attorneys in Trump’s world declined to comment.

CBS News it first reported that Trump’s lawyers planned to fight the subpoena.

In December, NBC News reported that Smith had sued local officials in major presidential swing states over all communications involving Trump, his campaign, and a range of aides and allies who have assisted in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Smith’s move indicated that he was looking into a scheme involving fake Trump voters, a list of individuals who signed documents claiming to be the rightful voters of their states and making false claims that Trump was the victor in those states.

The fake voters also submitted fake certifications of Trump’s victories to the National Archives in hopes that Pence would replace them with the actual electoral votes that made Joe Biden president, according to evidence gathered by the House committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 attack .

Trump had attempted multiple times to claim executive privilege to prevent the committee from obtaining the documents it requested 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 exerted on Pence to get him to interfere with the election count.

Pence said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that he told Trump it would be illegal for him to interfere in the count during a meeting in the Oval Office with attorney John Eastman, one of the architects of a memo outlining a scenario in which Pence could have refused to certify the Electoral College count.

Pence, who presided over congressional certification of the 2020 election results, finally performed his ceremonial duty in the aftermath of the riot.

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