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Step Up to the Mic, Mike

Special counsel Jack Smith would very much like to chat with former VP Mike Pence in front of a grand jury. Pence has resisted that idea. Yesterday, chief judge James Boasberg of the US District Court in Washington ruled that this is one invitation that the former VP just can't decline (though there are certain questions that would be off-limits because they involve Pence's duties as President of the Senate).

This is not the final word in the matter, of course, unless Pence decides it is. That is to say, there are still appeals available to the former VP. At the moment, Pence says he is "evaluating the court's decision" and that "I'll have more to say about that in the days ahead." How many days ahead, he did not say.

At this point, we all know that Pence cares about two things: (1) Mike Pence and (2) Mike's Pence's completely implausible presidential bid. From a legal standpoint, he really has no leg to stand on, and further appeals would only buy him a relatively small amount of time. So, what he is "evaluating" right now is the politics of the situation.

On the whole, Pence probably isn't terribly opposed to spilling (most of) his guts. He is undoubtedly angry that Trump has thrown him under the bus, over and over. Further, as the former VP tilts at White House-shaped windmills, Trump is the competition. So, helping take him down would theoretically leave more oxygen for Pence to try to absorb.

That said, Pence (foolishly) believes that he can still win over a part of Trump's base. So, the former VP has to pretend to still be a loyalist, and to give off the impression that he had to be dragged into court, kicking and screaming, in order to testify. Further, if Trump sinks like a stone right now, most of the oxygen that is released would likely be sucked up by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Pence would probably prefer that the two men spend at least the next 6 months taking potshots at each other.

We will soon see what Pence decides; yesterday's ruling was sealed, so we can't know how much time has been allowed for an appeal, but it's not going to be all that much. Meanwhile, people who know federal jurisprudence far better than we do say that when a special counsel starts getting to the very inner layers of the onion, that's a sign that indictments are coming soon. So, there should be plenty of excitement on this front before summer arrives. (Z)

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