WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s legal team has been in touch with Justice Department officials involved in the Capitol attack investigation, in an apparent attempt to block conversations with his former top aide, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The revelations come as federal criminal investigations appear to have increased in recent weeks as subpoenas have been issued to former Trump White House officials and aides to former Vice President Mike Pence.
more:Federal grand jury subpoenas former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone in Jan. 6 DOJ investigation
more:Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify before the Jan. 6 committee on Friday
Trump’s political team issued a statement condemning the judicial action, saying “there is clearly a concerted effort to undermine vital, constitutionally based executive and attorney-client privileges.” He described the judicial and other investigations as “partisan” Political persecution”.
First reported by CNN Talk about what it described as “about whether Trump was able to shield his presidency from federal investigators.”
Trump is expected to claim executive privilege if the Justice Department seeks details of the president’s conversations with aides and members of the White House Counsel’s Office.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to investigate the Capitol attack and campaign to overturn the 2020 election, a person familiar with the matter said earlier this week.
The Justice Department’s action against Cipollone follows the former White House official’s testimony last month during a House committee’s separate review of the Jan. 6, 2021 attacks.
Cipollone urged then-President Donald Trump to intervene as rioters stormed the Capitol and defended Justice Department officials’ rejection of false allegations of election fraud by Trump.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the subject of the subpoena and any connection to Trump’s legal team.
Cipollone, the most senior member of the Trump White House, was called before a grand jury in a major step in the federal investigation.
Top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence, including Chief of Staff Mark Short, have appeared before a grand jury.
“How could any future president have private conversations with his attorneys, advisers and other senior advisers and be forced to disclose before a non-selective committee or other entity, during or after the presidency, any such advisers. Disclosure of this information? Privileged, confidential discussions?” Trump’s statement said.
“President Trump will not be stopped by witch hunt or kangaroo courts and continues to defend and fight for America, our Constitution and the truth,” the statement added.
Trump isn’t just handling aspects of the Justice Department investigation. He is the focus of another criminal investigation in Georgia, where an Atlanta-area prosecutor is leading a broad probe into election interference.
The review included a January 2021 call by Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he urged the state’s top election official to “find” enough votes for Trump to win The state’s 2020 presidential election.