Judge shoots down Trump’s executive privilege claim

A federal judge shot down Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege and will require Mark Meadows and other top aides to testify before a grand jury weighing the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and in the Jan. 6 riots, according to a new report.

Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, was subpoenaed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in January. But Trump’s legal team sought to block his testimony under executive privilege, which allows presidents to confidentially communicate with their advisers. 

In a sealed order last week, DC Judge Beryl Howell rejected the defense’s argument, paving the way for Meadows’ testimony, ABC News reported. 

Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump’s actions in the lead up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and his handling of classified materials after he left office. 

In addition to Meadows, Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, White House aide Stephen Miller, and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino will also be called to give testimony, according to the report. 

Trump will likely appeal the ruling. 

Meadows was a close aide to Trump on the day a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol.

“There is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump,” a Trump spokesperson told ABC News. “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.”

The federal grand jury is separate to the Manhattan panel that is currently hearing evidence related to hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. 

Donald Trump and Jack Smith
The grand jury convened by Jack Smith is just one of a number of criminal probes into the former president.

In that investigation, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is seeking an unprecedented indictment of Trump on potential charges of falsifying business records connected to the hush money payment, given to Daniels by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in that case and launched blistering attacks on Bragg on his social media platform, Truth Social.  

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