‘Trump just found out the hard way’: Legal Experts say ‘big win for DOJ’ in case surrounding executive privilege claim

‘Trump just found out the hard way’: Legal Experts say ‘big win for DOJ’ in case surrounding executive privilege claim
Former President Donald Trump speaking in Tampa, Florida in July 2022 (Gage Skidmore)

A federal judge on Thursday, under seal, ruled a former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence cannot invoke executive privilege and must testify before a grand jury in a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled that former Pence chief of staff Marc Short probably possessed information important to the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol that was not available from other sources,” The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

That sealed decision “could clear the way for other top Trump White House officials to answer questions before a grand jury,” without being able to claim executive privilege.

Marc Short reportedly testified on Thursday after the judge’s ruling, and was filmed later in the day leaving a federal courthouse.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, commenting on the judge’s ruling, says, “Trump just found out the hard way that trying to delay grand jury proceedings is very difficult to do.”

“His privilege arguments were clear losers under existing law, so it’s not surprising that he lost quickly,” Mariotti added.

“The path now appears clear for ⁦@TheJusticeDept to put former Trump White House aides in the grand jury and question them about matters on which they previously asserted Executive Privilege,” commented former federal prosecutor David Laufman, who once served as chief of the DOJ National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

“Big win for DOJ,” he added.

“Significant win for DOJ that could apply to other cases too,” says former assistant attorney general for New York state Tristan Snell, who successfully prosecuted the Trump University case.

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