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

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 aids, 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 inquiryin which transcripts of testimony from at least 20 witnesses are passing to Garland’s investigation.

Key events

Homeland security officials’ January 6 texts ‘missing’

Text messages of two of Donald Trump’s chief homeland security officials, Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, are missing for “a key period” surrounding the former president’s January 6 insurrection, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Chad Wolf.
Chad Wolf. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/Reuters

It follows news that secret service texts from about the same time had been mysteriously erased, hampering the House panel’s inquiry into the deadly Capitol riot and Trump’s illegitimate efforts to remain in office.

The previously unreported discovery of missing records for the most senior homeland security officials increases the volume of potential evidence that has vanished regarding the time around the Capitol attack, the Post says.

🚨🔎🚨BREAKING POGO INVESTIGATION: yet another story of missing text messages at #DHS. This time, text messages to and from three top Trump-era officials at the dept. from early January 2021 are missing. Read the investigation now: https://t.co/AkWxoUu65Z

— Project On Government Oversight (@POGOwatchdog) July 29, 2022

The homeland security department told the agency’s inspector general in February that texts of Wolf and Cuccinelli were lost in a “reset” of their government phones when they left their jobs in January 2021 in preparation for the new Biden administration, the newspaper adds.

The Post says its source is an internal record obtained by the Project on Government Oversightwhose own report on the disappearance of the messages can be found here.

Messages of a third senior department official, the undersecretary of management Randolph “Tex” Allesa former Secret Service director, are also no longer available because of the reset, according to the Post.

Manafort invokes Holocaust in memoir of life in prison

Martin Pengelly

Martin Pengelly

In his forthcoming memoir, the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort describes his travels through the US prison system after being convicted on tax charges – including a stay in a Manhattan facility alongside the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the Mexican drug baron Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Paul Manafort.
Paul Manafort. Photograph: Eduardo Muñoz/Reuters

Manafort also writes that during one transfer between facilities, at a private airfield “somewhere Ohio”, the sight of “prisoners … being herded in long and then separated into other buses and on to … transport planes … reminded me of movies about the Holocaust”.

Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced, will be published in the US next month. The Guardian obtained a copy.

Manafort’s book is not all quite so startling. But he does make the surprise admission that in 2020, he kept indirectly advised Trump’s campaign while in home confinement as part of a seven-year sentence – advice he secret as he hoped for a presidential pardon.

“I didn’t want anything to get in the way of the president’s re-election or, importantly, a potential pardon,” Manafort writes.

He got the pardon.

Here’s more:

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 aids, 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 inquiryin which transcripts of testimony from at least 20 witnesses are passing to Garland’s investigation.

Good morning blog readers, we’ve made it to the end of an extraordinary week in US politics, but we’re not through quite yet. There’s news today of more legal peril for Donald Trump over his efforts to illegitimately reverse his 2020 election defeat.

justice department prosecutors, according to CNN, are preparing a court fight to force Trump insiders to testify over the former president’s conversations and actions around January 6. They expect Trump to try to invoke executive privilege to prevent his former White House officials telling what they know.

We’ll have more on that coming up, and will also be looking at the following:

  • Washington is still abuzz with Senator Joe Manchin‘s stunning reversal, leading to the surprise announcement of the Inflation Reduction Act and the chance is Joe Biden to achieve some of his signature climate policy goals.
  • Text messages around the time of the January 6 Capitol riot “vanished” from the phones of Trump’s senior homeland security officials Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinellithe Washington Post reports.
  • The Biden administration reportedly has a new plan for Covid-19 boostersscrapping advice for a summer shot and concentrating instead on pushing next-generation vaccines in the fall.
  • It could be a busy day in the house with possible votes on gun controls and police funding, before members head off for a six-week break. But the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, could call them back next week for a vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • The White House press secretary, Karen Jean-Pierre, has her daily briefing scheduled for 1.30pm. Joe Biden has no public events listed.

Leave a Comment