Wall Street Journal: Special counsel should drop Pence subpoena

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board said on Friday that that the special counsel investigating  former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election should drop the subpoena it issued for former Vice President Mike Pence.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as the special counsel to investigate Trump’s role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In recent weeks, Smith has made moves to scale up the investigation, including subpoenaing Pence and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Pence has promised to fight the subpoena, arguing that it is unconstitutional and unprecedented because as the then-president of the Senate, he is protected from testifying under the Constitutions “speech and debate” clause.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board said that Pence’s argument is a “strong case,” and that Smith should drop the subpoena because it will not yield fruitful testimony.

“The best result would be for Mr. Smith to withdraw his subpoena,” the editorial board writes. “He isn’t likely to learn much more from Mr. Pence that isn’t already in the public domain. The legal fight to compel his testimony will take months and may go to the Supreme Court.”

“If Mr. Smith is merely trying to check a box for his prosecution in the event he brings a criminal case, it isn’t worth the time and constitutional trouble,” the board continued.

The editorial board also noted that Pence “stood up” for the Constitution on Jan. 6, and is now standing up for the Constitution again by fighting the special counsel’s subpoena. The board argued that Pence’s “stand on principle is right again and deserves support.”

Pence said that if necessary, he is wiling to go to the Supreme Court to defend his case against testifying.

The editorial board also noted that some say Pence, who is likely considering a bid for the White House in 2024, is only fighting the subpoena to earn support from Trump’s base of voters.

“Critics say Mr. Pence is resisting because he wants to win back favor with MAGA voters,” the editorial board concluded, referring to Trump’s Make America Great Again rallying cry.

“But his stand on Jan. 6 has earned him the benefit of the doubt about his motives. He also has a strong and principled constitutional case.”