Based on the Politico report, a United States federal judge is considering making public confidential court affidavits accusing former President Trump of trying to block his aides from appearing before a grand jury looking into his role in the infamous January 6 riots in Washington, DC.
After requests from the New York Times and Politico, US District Court for DC’s Chief Judge Beryl Howell on October 26 called on the Justice Department to respond to the issue. The documents are confidential court proceedings on the former US president’s attempts to deter ex-aides from testifying through executive orders and attorney-client privilege claims. According to past reports on CNN, the DOJ had secured sworn statements from former Vice President’s top aides Marc Short and Greg Jacob, undeterred by Trump’s efforts to stop them from testifying before the grand jury.
Politico reports that Pence’s former chief of staff, Short, appeared before a grand jury on October 20 after a federal appeals court threw out Trump’s request to reschedule the hearing while he appeals. The court reportedly rejected the request after “hurried fillings,” and Short gave his testimony the following day. Trump’s lawyers could have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, but they have not done so.
Although the ruling “escalated rapidly” on September 28 after Judge Howell’s ruling against Trump, it comes during a months-long legal battle that started in June and sparked off by grand jury subpoenas over the January 6 Capitol riots probe. The rulings were sealed due to their connection to grand jury matters. However, the timing might indicate their relation with the Jacob and Short subpoenas.
Series of Bitter Blows
The decision was among a series of court decisions dealing blows to Trump’s efforts to thwart investigations. The Supreme Court quashed Trump’s efforts to stop a federal criminal investigation into confidential national documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago on the same day as Short’s testimony. Similar judgments have paved the way for prosecutors to secure affidavits on Trump’s role in the January 6 riots, businesses, and efforts to derail a democratic electoral process.
Although they failed to answer queries related to the former president’s privilege claims, Short and Jacob have testified before a grand jury in the past. Despite Trump’s attorney-client privilege claims, prosecutors are similarly requesting the judge to force ex-White House staffers Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin to testify, according to CNN. The ruling might also affect the testimonies of Boris Ephsteyn, Trump’s campaign adviser, and other ex-White House officials, including Dan Scavino, Mark Meadows, Stephen Miller, and Eric Herschmann.
Far From Over
Meadows, who initially supported the House January 6 investigation, was the main figure in Trump’s actions after the election. However, he has refused to hand over crucial documents or be interviewed.
On October 26, a judge ordered Meadows to appear before a Georgia grand jury. The jury in Fulton County is looking into Trump’s bid to revoke his election loss in Georgia.
Regarding the Mar-a-Lago investigation, prosecutors are reportedly open to offering the former president’s aides immunity to coerce their testimony. Legal experts predict an identical scenario