Former President Donald Trump is directing a group of his former aides to ignore a subpoena from the House committee probing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and signaling he will go to court to block their testimony to the investigators, reports Politico. The committee has subpoenaed documents and testimony from four Trump administration alumni: former social media czar Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former White House adviser Steve Bannon.
The four men were ordered to turn over documents related to Jan. 6 and to sit for interviews with investigators. However, in a recently viewed letter, a Trump lawyer tells them not to cooperate with the probe and tells the recipient to hold back any documents about his White House work and to refuse to testify about his official duties. It remains to be seen if the former Trump officials will follow Trump’s directions. If they are convicted of criminal contempt of Congress, they could face a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The move creates a dilemma for the Biden administration who is loath to weaken executive privilege which, while the Constitution does not mention the concept, the courts have held exists. Weakening executive privilege broadly could create problems for Biden down the road. The subpoena of Meadows is particularly sensitive; the idea of congressional investigators from the opposing party grilling a White House chief of staff is a nightmare scenario for most presidents.