The Justice Department is allowing former Trump administration officials to testify to committees investigating the former president’s efforts to overturn the election results and the Jan 6. riot at the U.S. Capitol.
According to the letter obtained by The New York Times, witnesses can provide “unrestricted testimony” to the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The letter also said officials discovered in May they could provide information about how the department planned for and responded to the certification of the results on Jan. 6, as the Times reports.
The outlet notes the decision “runs counter to the views” of Trump, who has stressed that his decisions made as president are protected by executive privilege.
“It also sets up a potential court battle if Mr. Trump sues to block any testimony, which would force the courts to determine the extent to which a former president can be protected by privilege,” the Times writes.
The newspaper noted Trump pressured Justice Department officials to overturn the results of the election during his last weeks in office.
“Department lawyers, including those who have left the department, are obligated to protect nonpublic information they learned in the course of their work,” the department’s letter reads, which was signed by Bradley Weinsheimer, a top career official in the deputy attorney general’s office.
Weinsheimer added, “The extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances warranting an accommodation to Congress.”
Former officials are permitted to provide unrestricted testimony “so long as the testimony is confined to the scope of the interviews set forth by the committees.” It cannot include grand-jury information, classified information, or pending criminal cases, as the Times points out.
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