Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:
The Department of Justice is continuing to conduct its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of documents.
- Federal prosecutors involved in the investigation are reportedly seeking further testimony from key Trump aides, including Walt Nauta and Kash Patel, as reported by the New York Times. Nauta worked for Trump both in the White House and at Mar-a-Lago and was reportedly recorded on Mar-a-Lago security camera footage moving boxes that might have contained classified materials. Patel briefly served as chief of staff to the Secretary of Defense during the Trump administration. This year, Trump designated Patel as one of his representatives to the National Archives and Records Administration. Following the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, Patel claimed that Trump declassified the seized documents. Patel reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment during a recent appearance before a grand jury.
- Meanwhile, new reports have offered details about the information contained in the seized documents. The Washington Post reports that the documents contained “highly sensitive intelligence,” including information about Iran’s missile program and other information about China.
- The special master, Judge Raymond Dearie, continues his work reviewing over 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. On Monday, Trump withdrew his claims of attorney-client privilege to a handful of documents. The documents reportedly pertained to clemency requests, immigration matters, and military academy policies. The documents were then returned to DOJ to be used in the investigation. Still, Trump maintains that other documents should be shielded from DOJ due to executive privilege.
Key witnesses are fighting to block subpoenas issued by a Fulton County, Georgia grand jury in the investigation into interference in the 2020 election.
- Senator Lindsey Graham has asked the Supreme Court to permanently block his subpoena to testify. Earlier this week, Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily froze the subpoena until the parties briefed the issue. Graham argues that the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause precludes him from having to testify. Georgia prosecutors, however, counter that the grand jury is seeking testimony about his involvement in the aftermath of the 2020 election, including phone calls he made to Georgia election officials — not legislative work that would be shielded by the Constitution.
- On Wednesday, a South Carolina judge ordered former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify in the investigation, saying that his testimony is “material and necessary to the investigation and that the state of Georgia is assuring not to cause undue hardship to him.” Meadows observed the phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the election results in the state. Meadows also traveled to Georgia in late 2020 to witness an audit of the state’s results.
- Thus far, numerous individuals have testified in the investigation, including Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has been ordered to testify after the November election. The grand jury has also requested testimony from, among others, Newt Gingrich and Michael Flynn.
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