The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly preparing to force former White House staffers to testify about what former President Donald Trump said and did around the time of the Jan.6 Capitol insurrection.
What Happened: The prosecutors at the Justice Department are zeroing-in on Trump’s conduct around Jan. 6, CNN reported on Thursday, citing people briefed on the matter.
The DoJ prosecutors expect Trump to make claims of executive privilege to shield some information from the federal grand jury as the criminal investigation focuses on White House officials who interacted directly with the former U.S. leader, according to CNN.
A court fight centered around executive privilege could take a more aggressive shape than even the Mueller investigation, which took place when Trump was still president.
Why It Matters: How far Trump’s executive privilege goes is still unsettled, and DoJ officials believe that he is likely to try to assert his claim as he did before the House select committee probing the Jan.6 riots, noted CNN.
The question of executive privilege came up during the recent grand jury testimony of Marc Short and Greg Jacob — both close aides to former Vice President Mike Pence, according to CNN.
The Biden administration has mostly not asserted privilege claims around the riot, diluting Trump’s case for executive privilege, as per the report.
Both aides’ lawyers and prosecutors reportedly steered clear of potential privilege issues with the expectation that such questions could be answered later.
Notably, both Short and Jacob were present in a Jan.4, 2021 meeting where Trump pressured Pence to accede to a plan by attorney John Eastman to block the certification of the election results.
Past instances from the Nixon and Clinton eras indicate that executive privilege may not hold in the courts.
Trump is currently the Chair of Trump Media & Technology Group, which owns the Truth Social network and plans to merge with Digital World Acquisition Corp DWAC to go public.
Price Action: On Thursday, DWAC shares closed 0.3% lower at $30.19 in the regular trading and fell 0.1% in the after-hours session, according to data from Benzinga Pro.
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