Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and a suite of other aides are being forced to testify before a grand jury hearing evidence in the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, rejecting former President Trump’s claims of executive privilege.
The decision, first reported by ABC News, came in a sealed ruling last week from D.C. District Court Judge — one of her last decisions before stepping down as chief judge.
The order requires testimony from a number of Trump aides, including some that have already appeared before the grand jury but declined to answer questions about their conversations with the former president.
The decision is a turning point for Meadows, who dodged a subpoena from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 after the panel’s work identified him as a key player in a suite of different efforts to keep Trump in office after losing the 2020 election. The DOJ declined to prosecute Meadows for contempt of Congress, but special counsel Jack Smith — appointed by the department to oversee the investigation — subpoenaed him in February in connection with his criminal probe.
Trump communications guru Dan Scavino, who the DOJ likewise declined to prosecute after he bucked a committee subpoena, was also included in Howell’s order and must testify in the criminal probe.
Aide Stephen Miller, former Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien were also all directed to testify, as were John McEntee, then director of the Presidential Personnel Office, and Nick Luna, an assistant to Trump.
Trump’s team can appeal the decision, though a three-judge panel at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld another Howell order, one that directed Trump’s attorney in the probe into documents held at his Mar-a-Lago property to answer questions about his conversations with the former president.
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