The Department of Justice (DOJ) has informed former officials who served in the Trump administration that they are permitted to testify before committees probing the leadup to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in addition to the administration’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee is currently investigating Trump’s efforts to pressure the DOJ into overturning the results of the 2020 election and the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also leading its own investigation.
The department said the officials are allowed to testify before both panels, The New York Times reported. The newspaper obtained the letter sent by the DOJ to the officials, notifying them that they can participate in the probes.
The Hill reached out to the DOJ for details regarding the letter.
Officials were reportedly told in May that they were allowed to provide information regarding the department’s plans for and reaction to the vote on Jan. 6 to certify the election results, the Times reported, citing the letter.
The DOJ reportedly made its decision after discussing the matter with the White House counsel's office, which said it would not be appropriate to declare executive privilege on communications with Trump because of the topics the panels are looking to probe.
The department wrote that the decision was "unique to the facts and circumstances of this particular matter," the Times reported.
Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyOvernight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Oversight Republicans seek testimony from Afghanistan watchdog MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, announced on Tuesday that the DOJ has authorized former Trump officials to give “unrestricted testimony” before committees investigating the administration’s actions.
“I am pleased that the Justice Department has recognized that the Committee has ‘compelling legislative interests’ in understanding the ‘extraordinary events’ surrounding President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE’s conduct, and that DOJ has authorized key officials to provide ‘unrestricted testimony’ to the Committee without asserting claims of privilege,” Maloney wrote in a statement.
She said she expects “prompt cooperation from these witnesses” and is “committed to getting to the bottom of the previous Administration’s attempts to subvert the Justice Department and reverse a free and fair election.”
The letter is a direct rebuke of Trump, who has previously said that his decisions and deliberations were protected by the shield of executive privilege, the Times noted.
It also sets the stage for a potential lawsuit brought by Trump in an effort to block testimony, which would toss authority to the courts to decide how far executive privilege protects a former president, the Times reported.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee publicly released a new trove of documents last month that revealed that Trump and his allies pressured the DOJ to bolster his unproven claims of election fraud in the days and weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.