Court Battles

Trump appeals order directing Meadows, other aides to testify in Jan. 6 probe

Former President Trump’s legal team has appealed a decision from a judge ordering former chief of staff Mark Meadows and other Trump White House officials to testify in the Justice Department investigation into Jan. 6.

The sealed decision from D.C. District Court Judge Beryl Howell rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege over the officials, a group that includes Trump communications adviser Dan Scavino as well as several national security officials.

The matter will come before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel recently upheld another of Howell’s decisions ordering Evan Corcoran, Trump’s attorney in the Mar-a-Lago probe, to cooperate with investigators and return before the grand jury to answer questions he previously dodged, citing attorney-client privilege.

A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Howell’s March 15 ruling on Meadows and others is a significant win for prosecutors and could provide new information in the investigation.

Meadows dodged a subpoena from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 after the panel’s work identified him as a key player in a suite of different efforts to keep Trump in office after losing the 2020 election. 

Some of those impacted by the order have already appeared before the grand jury but declined to answer questions about their conversations with the former president.

Aide Stephen Miller, former Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien were also all directed to testify in Howell’s decision, as were John McEntee, then director of the Presidential Personnel Office, and Nick Luna, an assistant to Trump.

Approached by The Hill Wednesday, O’Brien declined to discuss whether at this stage he would comply with a February subpoena.

“I just refer to the lawyers on that, let the judicial process play out on that front,” he said. 

The ruling appealed Wednesday was one of Howell’s last before stepping down as chief judge. 

However, a shift in the court’s leadership has thus far not proved beneficial to Trump.

Judge James Boasberg, who as chief judge is now overseeing the Justice Department’s work before the grand jury, recently ordered former Vice President Pence to likewise testify in the Jan. 6 probe.

Meadows could have valuable insight for prosecutors, as he directed a number of White House meetings with GOP lawmakers and coordinated with officials at the Department of Justice and in Georgia. He also reportedly burned papers in his office “once or twice a week,” according to testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

The appeal of the decision ordering his testimony could be decided swiftly.

When Trump appealed the Corcoran decision, judges ordered Trump’s attorneys to file briefs by midnight and the Justice Department to respond by 6 a.m., upholding Howell’s decision just hours later.

Laura Kelly contributed.

Updated at 6:55 p.m.

Tags Dan Scavino James Boasberg Ken Cuccinelli Mark Meadows nick luna Robert O'Brien Stephen Miller

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