judge rejects trumps claims of executive power orders aides to testify in jan 6 probe

A federal judge has ordered several top aides to former President Donald Trump to testify before a grand jury as part of a criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to Friday reports by ABC News and CNN.

Trump’s legal team tried to claim executive privilege to get his former aides out of testifying and providing documents to special counsel Jack Smith, who had issued subpoenas as part of a broader probe into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol. But in a sealed order last week, Judge Beryl Howell rejected Trump’s efforts and ordered Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, to testify, among others.

Howell also ordered testimony from John Ratcliffe, Trump’s former director of national intelligence; Robert O’Brien, his former national security adviser; Stephen Miller, his former top aide; and Dan Scavino, his former deputy chief of staff.

Ken Cuccinelli, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security, was also included in the judge’s order. So were former Trump aides Nick Luna and John McEntee.

Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal Howell’s decision, per ABC News.

Howell in October rejected Trump’s claim of executive privilege to block testimony from some of former Vice President Mike Pence’s top aides, Greg Jacob and Marc Short. In that decision, the judge ruled that it’s up to the current president to assert executive privilege, not a former president.

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