The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to force the top two lawyers from the Trump White House to testify before a grand jury about the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to a media report.
Federal prosecutors filed a sealed motion last week to compel testimony from the two lawyers, Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, according to information leaked to CNN late Tuesday.
The filing, made in a Washington, D.C. federal court, reportedly claims that the two lawyers’ conversations with former president Donald Trump are not protected by attorney-client or executive privilege.
Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Philbin initially appeared before the grand jury last month, but declined to answer questions about the advice they gave to Mr. Trump or any interactions they had with him, the report said.
The two lawyers did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.
If the two lawyers are compelled to testify, they could detail to the grand jury Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, including a plan to create a fake slate of pro-Trump electors in states won by President Biden.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell is overseeing the dispute and he has already ruled in favor of the government in similar privilege disputes. He compelled Marc Short and Greg Jacob, two aides to former Vice President Mike Pence, to testify before the same grand jury.
Both men testified before the grand jury earlier this month and answered questions that Mr. Trump and his legal team sought to block them from answering under privilege claims.
Last month, roughly 40 subpoenas were issued in the probe to a wide range of Trump associates, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows; top communications aide Dan Scavino, and Stephen Miller, a Trump speechwriter and senior policy advisor.
Mr. Trump will likely try to block their testimony or assert privilege claims in a bid to limit what they tell the grand jury.