DoJ reportedly preparing court fight to get Trump insiders to testify – live |

Federal prosecutors ready for executive privilege fight

Prosecutors at the justice department are gearing up for a courtroom battle to force the testimony of Donald Trump’s former White House officials, as they pursue their criminal inquiry into his insurrection, a report published Friday by CNN says.

The former president is expected to try to invoke executive privilege to prevent his closest associates telling what they know about his conduct and actions following his 2020 election defeat, and efforts to prevent Joe Biden taking office, according to the network.

But the department, which has taken a much more aggressive stance in recent weeks, is readying for that fight, CNN says, “the clearest sign yet” that the inquiry has become more narrowly focused on Trump’s conversations and interactions.

Attorney general Merrick Garland.
Attorney general Merrick Garland. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

This week attorney general Merrick Garland promised “justice without fear or favor” for anyone caught up in insurrection efforts and would not rule out charging Trump criminally if that’s where the evidence led.

He told NBC’s Lester Holt:

We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for events surrounding January 6, or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable.

That’s what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.

CNN’s story suggests that prosecutors are acutely aware that Trumpworld insiders who are initially reluctant to testify will be more inclined to do so with a judge’s order compelling it.

The network also says Trump’s attempt to maintain secrecy came up over recent federal grand jury testimony of two of former vice-president Mike Pence’s aides, Marc Short and Greg Jacob.

Questioning reportedly skirted around issues likely to be covered by executive privilege, with prosecutors having an expectation they could return to those subjects at a later date, CNN’s sources said.

The development is set to add more legal pressure on Trump following the announcement of an evidence-sharing “partnership” between the justice department and the parallel House January 6 inquiry, in which transcripts of testimony from at least 20 witnesses are passing to Garland’s investigation.

Russian government officials asked that Vadim Krasikov, a spy and former army colonel convicted of murder in Germany last year, be added to the proposed prisoner swap for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, CNN reports….

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