A federal judge on Friday said that several former officials in the Trump administration, including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, must testify in a 2020 election inquiry.
The ruling by Judge Beryl A. Howell in Washington paves the way for former White House officials to appear for questioning before federal prosecutors, The New York Times reported. The judge said the former administration officials cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying to a grand jury investigating Trump.
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Lawyers for Trump have tried to refuse to obey subpoenas issued to more than a half-dozen former administration officials in connection with his failed efforts to remain in office after his election defeat to President Biden. They argued that Trump’s interactions with the officials were covered by executive privilege, something Howell disagreed with.
Biden won the 2020 election, but Trump claimed it was stolen, and his legal team filed a slew of lawsuits in battleground states across the nation in an effort to overturn the result.
Meadows previously refused to be interviewed by lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
The probe into the election comes amid similar investigations into Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office, his tax returns and the Trump Organization, among others.
The former president’s allies said the inquiries are just part of an effort to derail his 2024 presidential campaign.