A source familiar with the former president’s legal strategy confirmed to CNN that a Trump lawyer sent letters to some of the summons targets, informing them of his plan to protect executive privilege. The letters were first reported by Politico.
“Executive privilege will be defended, not only on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but on behalf of the office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation,” Taylor Budovitch, director of communications for Save America and Trump, said in a statement. said in.
While the letter directed the summons targets congressional investigators not to comply, it is up to each witness to decide whether to follow Trump’s instruction, according to the Post.
Patel, in a statement to CNN on Thursday, did not confirm whether he had received a letter from Trump’s lawyer or how he plans to respond to the summons, but did say: “I am calling the American people 6 Will continue to tell the truth about Jan, and I wish to put my country and independence first through my fight with the initiative.”
The California Democrat said that the truth “is what we want, and clearly (Trump) has a problem with us reaching the truth, so he’s running a relentless pressure campaign on these individuals he encourages not to cooperate.” Has been doing.”
Until now, the question of how the claim for the privilege would operate has resulted in a game of chicken.
This summer, Trump and his legal team asked the Biden White House to claim the privilege after former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and other senior Justice Department officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee about events prior to the January 6 attacks. Testified about But Trump tried not to intervene when Biden waived the privilege and current Justice Department leaders cleared the way for former officials to testify.
Instead, Doug Collins, Trump’s lawyer, suggested to Fox News that Trump would take a different approach when it came to White House officials — a tactic he may be using in the current round of subpoenas. Collins said in a letter this summer that the former president could claim the privilege later, if the House pushed too far.
Yet some lawyers representing witnesses in the January 6 investigation say that by allowing Rosen and others to testify without a battle of privilege, Trump’s ground for protecting the information has already been lost.
When he left the administration, Trump identified several top advisers to work with the National Archives, which holds his presidential papers. The post-Watergate-era law allows former presidents to have some say in what they want to preserve in their presidential records and Biden allows the White House Council office to weigh in as well.
But the archives have been a record of a slow process and it is not yet clear which topics will be off limits and where Biden will differ from the White House and Trump.
Earlier, Trump barred former White House officials from testifying on Capitol Hill, claiming he had full immunity. Summons were then derailed by court cases.
Trump is unclear whether he will try the same tactic again – or whether his claim of privilege could be questioned.
But without the power of the Justice Department or the White House behind it, it is uncertain how the battle for privilege will play out now.
This story has been updated with additional information on Thursday.