OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A federal judge has ruled that former Vice President Mike Pence must testify to a grand jury about conversations he had with former President Donald Trump leading up to January 6, 2021.
“But the judge said – in a ruling that remains under seal – that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election, according to one of the sources,” CNN reported.
“Pence still has the ability to appeal. Trump has repeatedly lost executive privilege assertions he’s tried to make in the special counsel’s investigation. It’s another win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the Trump-aligned effort to subvert the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence for testimony and documents earlier this year. After news broke of the subpoena, Pence and his advisers, indicated that the former vice president would challenge the subpoena under the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which shields lawmakers from certain law enforcement actions connected to their legislative duties,” the outlet added.
“I am going to fight the Biden DOJ subpoena for me to appear before the grand jury because I believe it’s unconstitutional and unprecedented,” Pence said at an event in February. He has suggested that – because he was also serving as president of the Senate during the January 6 certification vote – the constitutional clause covered the conduct that investigators are looking at.
The ruling comes as Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has been airing new footage in recent days on his Fox News program from the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police issued a memo to his staff on Tuesday following the airing of previously unseen security footage by Carlson, which showed police officers appearing to stand passively as a large crowd entered the Capitol that day.
Police Chief Tom Manger condemned the comments made during the airing of the footage on Carlson’s Monday night program, stating that it was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about the riot of January 6, 2021, when a group of people breached the U.S. Capitol building, causing disruptions to lawmakers who were in the process of certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video,” Manger claimed. “The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”
NEW – Capitol Police chief Thomas Manger sends internal memo this am saying Carlson’s report was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about Jan. 6 and says the “opinion program” never reached out with appropriate context. Reporting w/ @rachelvscott pic.twitter.com/BrnD0n4IN1
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) March 7, 2023
Manger noted that Capitol Police “maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”
In his memo, Manger thanked and praised members of the Capitol Police force, commending their efforts on January 6.
“You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for,” he wrote. “You, along with our law enforcement partners, saved every member of Congress and their staff.”
Carlson was provided access to some 40,000 hours of previously unseen surveillance video by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ky.), a move that was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said, according to USA Today.
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said it’s “really sad to see Tucker Carlson go off the rails like that.” Romey added that he’s “joining a range of shock jocks that are disappointing America and feeding falsehoods.”
“The American people saw what happened on Jan. 6,” Romney told reporters. “They’ve seen the people that got injured. They saw the damage to the building. You can’t hide the truth by selectively picking a few minutes out of tapes and saying this is what went on. It’s so absurd. It’s nonsense. It’s a very dangerous thing to do, to suggest that attacking the Capitol of the United States is in any way acceptable and it’s anything other than a serious crime, against democracy and against our country. And people saw that it was violent and destructive and should never happen again. But trying to normalize that behavior is dangerous and disgusting.”
Carlson called Romney and other establishment Republican senators “weak” and “vicious” after they criticized him for airing the tapes.