Jul 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ says Trump officials can testify in Jan. 6 investigations

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The Justice Department told former Trump administration officials this week that they could testify to the committees investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move counters the view of President Trump, who has argued that his decisions made as president are protected by executive privilege, per the Times.

  • A court battle could ensue if Trump sues in an attempt to block testimony. "In that case, the courts could be forced to decide the extent to which a former president can be protected by privilege," the Times writes.

Driving the news: Trump administration officials can testify to the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, both of which are investigating the Trump administration's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

  • “Department lawyers, including those who have left the department, are obligated to protect nonpublic information they learned in the course of their work,” the Justice Department said in a letter signed by Bradley Weinsheimer, a top ranking career official in the deputy attorney general’s office, per the Times.
  • "The extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances warranting an accommodation to Congress," Weinsheimer wrote.
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