A federal judge has ordered several former Donald Trump aides, including Mark Meadows, to testify before a grand jury as part of the criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, rejecting the former president’s claims of executive privilege, multiple sources confirmed to CNN.
Trump’s legal team had challenged subpoenas issued by special counsel Jack Smith demanding testimony and documents from Meadows, the former president’s White House chief of staff, as well as several others by asserting executive privilege.
In a sealed decision last week, then-Chief Judge Beryl Howell rejected the Trump team’s claims of privilege for Meadows and other top Trump administration officials who were subpoenaed by Smith, including former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien and former Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli, sources told CNN.
Trump’s privilege claims for other former White House aides, including Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino, also were rejected, the sources said.
Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal the decision, one source familiar with the matter said.
ABC News first reported the ruling.
Some of the witnesses who have already appeared before the grand jury but refused to answer some questions related to their interactions with Trump will now likely have to return.
A Trump spokesperson slammed the decision in a statement, accusing the Justice Department of “continuously stepping far outside the standard norms in attempting to destroy the long accepted, long held, Constitutionally based standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.”
“There is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump. The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion, because they are clearly losing the political battle.”
O’Brien and Cuccinelli recently appeared before the grand jury after receiving subpoenas as part of Smith’s probe.
The investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election ahead of the January 6, 2021, attack at the US Capitol is one of two ongoing probes overseen by special counsel Smith.
It is separate from the state-level criminal investigation in Georgia related to efforts by Trump and his allies to upend the 2020 election results there and another in New York centered around the former president’s alleged role in hush money payments to an adult film star.
Smith also oversees the criminal probe stemming from the discovery of classified documents recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-lago residence.
This story has been updated with additional details.