Judge to Trump Deputies: Spill the Tea
Donald Trump’s claims of “executive privilege” will not block key administration deputies from testifying before the federal grand jury investigating the former president for his campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election and his role in the bloody events of Jan. 6.
As reported by ABC and CNN, a federal judge has dismissed Trump’s bid to prevent Special Counsel Jack Smith from questioning White House witnesses about their former boss. Judge Beryl Howell issued the decision in a sealed order last week.
The judicial order, per the reports, paves the way for Smith to compel testimony from top Trump deputies and loyalists including:
- Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff
- Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media maven
- Stephen Miller, the far-right Trump adviser and speechwriter
- John Ratcliffe, the ex Director of National Intelligence
- Ken Cuccineli, a former top Homeland Security official
Trump is expected to appeal the decision, which holds that executive privilege — the right of the executive branch to shield some of its machinations from scrutiny by the legislative and judicial branches — does pertain in this instance.
The former president is predictably pissed. “The DOJ is continuously stepping far outside the standard norms in attempting to destroy the long accepted, long held, Constitutionally based standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege,” a Trump spokesperson told ABC in a statement that also alleged: “There is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump. The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion, because they are clearly losing the political battle.”
This decision is another sharp reminder that Trump’s legal woes extend far beyond covered-up hush-money payments to porn stars. While the political world has been breathlessly awaiting an indictment from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg stemming from the alleged Stormy Daniels affair, Trump could also soon face criminal charges in Georgia — where he’s accused of meddling in that state’s election — and federally, from Smith’s probe.
Smith was appointed Special Counsel last November by the Justice Department to independently investigate Trump’s well documented campaign to remain in the White House despite being rejected by voters. Trump’s behavior earned him a criminal referral by the House committee that spent months investigating the events that saw Trump unleash a bloodthirsty mob on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.