Former President Trump on Monday reportedly filed a long-shot appeal of a federal judge’s order that ex-Vice President Mike Pence must testify before the grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
The appeal is considered unlikely to succeed because it is based on Trump’s claim that he can invoke executive privilege to keep Pence from talking, a push that courts have repeatedly rejected.
Pence last week threw in the towel on his own appeal, which was based on a separate legal theory, and agreed to testify, perhaps as soon as the coming several days.
CNN reported that Trump’s lawyers have filed the appeal under seal in the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump’s appeal of Judge James Boasberg’s order will likely be heard by a randomly selected three-judge panel.
Previous appeals of orders by Boasberg’s predecessor, Judge Beryl Howell, were heard and rejected within a day or two, the judicial equivalent of lightning speed.
Trump lost a similar court fight to use executive privilege to quash grand jury subpoenas issued to several top White House aides, including chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Pence and Meadows are considered the most important witnesses for the grand jury probe, which is being led by special counsel Jack Smith, because they both had numerous closed-door meetings alone with Trump.
Pence has discussed some of his interactions with Trump in his memoir and in interviews, but he stubbornly refused to appear before the congressional committee that investigated Jan. 6 and initially trashed Smith’s subpoena as unconstitutional.
Pence’s own appeal, which the judge partially granted, said he was shielded from testifying because he was acting in the mostly ceremonial role as Senate president during the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt.
Boasberg ruled Pence could avoid answering questions about Jan. 6 itself, but must testify about Trump’s broader alleged plot to overturn his election loss to President Biden.
In the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, Trump sought to rope Pence into his so-called Stop the Steal campaign.
When Pence resisted and eventually rejected his demands, Trump turned on his longtime loyal lieutenant, deriding him as a traitor to the MAGA cause.
Trump ordered thousands of his loyal supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” to keep him in power on Jan. 6.
The violent extremists chanted “hang Mike Pence” and erected a mock gallows after Trump egged them on by calling Pence a coward in a tweet.
Along with the Jan. 6 probe, Smith is investigating Trump’s mishandling of classified documents that he took with him when he left the White House.
A Georgia prosecutor is looking into Trump’s effort to overturn his loss in the Peach State.
None of the cases are related to Trump’s indictment in the Manhattan hush money case that saw him become the first former president ever to face criminal charges.