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Appeals court denies Trump request to block Pence testimony

Full interview: Pence on "Face the Nation"
Full interview: Former Vice President Mike Pence on "Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan" 20:53

A federal appeals court has denied former President Donald Trump's request to halt former Vice President Mike Pence's testimony before a grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election. A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump's claims of executive privilege over Pence's testimony. 

Pence was subpoenaed by special counsel Jack Smith in February as federal prosecutors have sought to question the former vice president about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. 

It was unclear when Pence may testify, and further appeal is possible, but as of Wednesday night, no court orders were in place preventing Pence from answering questions in the probe. The exact details of the ruling remain under seal pursuant to grand jury laws.

Trump had appealed a March ruling by Chief Judge James Boasberg, who rejected Trump's argument that Pence should be shielded from testifying about his interactions with the former president during the final weeks of the administration.

Both Pence and Trump have attempted to fight the subpoena, but the chief judge has mostly rejected their efforts. Boasberg previously dismissed Trump's claims of executive privilege and ruled that Pence must testify about any potential illegality committed by Trump. 

But the Justice Department is partially limited in what it can ask Pence based on another sealed court ruling. 

Boasberg has instituted certain guardrails on Pence's testimony, shielding him from questions about his role as president of the Senate on Jan. 6, when he presided over the counting of electoral votes. Pence's legal team argued that he was a member of the legislative branch and immune from testifying about congressional proceedings under a provision in the Constitution known as the Speech or Debate Clause. 

Pence has said he would not appeal Boasberg's ruling.    

Smith is also conducting a separate investigation into possible mishandling of documents with classified markings by Trump. 

The former president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in both probes.

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