Ex-Trump aide Meadows, others ordered to testify in Capitol attack probe -ABC

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[March 25, 2023]  WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge has rejected former President Donald Trump's bid to prevent ex-aides, including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, from testifying before a grand jury probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, ABC reported on Friday, citing sources.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, walks with senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson before a campaign rally in Gastonia, North Carolina, U.S. October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

The federal grand jury is investigating failed efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election, one of two probes into the former president being handled by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Republican Trump, who is running for president in 2024 and calls the investigations politically motivated, has sought to claim executive privilege to prevent former aides from testifying. He also faces inquiries in Georgia and New York.

Citing multiple sources, ABC reported that U.S. Judge Beryl Howell denied Trump's claim of executive privilege for Meadows and other former aides in a sealed order last week.

A Trump spokesperson told ABC the Justice Department had stepped "far outside the standard norms in attempting to destroy the long-accepted, long-held, constitutionally based standards of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege."

ABC, citing sources briefed on the matter, reported Trump would likely appeal the judge's ruling. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did lawyers for Trump or Meadows.

The former aides ordered to testify include former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, former top Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli, and former advisers Stephen Miller, Nick Luna and John McEntee, ABC reported.

A lawyer for Miller declined to comment. Reuters was not immediately able to reach the other former aides or their lawyers.

Special Counsel Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November, is also investigating Trump for the unlawful retention of national defense information at his Florida estate.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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