DOJ Asks for Trump Testimony to be Blocked in FBI Lawsuit

May 12, 2023

Department of Justice prosecutors on Thursday requested that a judge stop former President Trump from being deposed in a lawsuit brought by two former FBI officials.

The federal prosecutors’ requests were made in the same Washington DC courthouse where the DOJ has been convening grand juries to investigate Trump’s actions related to the mishandling of classified documents as well as the January 6 2021 insurrection and attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page filed suit against the DOJ after they were both fired amid the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. In the course of that investigation, text messages the pair exchanged had revealed anti-Trump sentiments. 

Strzok has asserted that he was unjustly fired for political reasons. He is suing for reinstatement and back pay.

Page argues that the text messages were revealed to the public unlawfully and violated her privacy. 

Last year, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Strzok had a right to interview Trump as well as FBI Director Chris Wray. 

On Thursday in an emergency filing, federal prosecutors asserted that Trump’s May 24 deposition was scheduled before any such meeting was set for Wray, which the DOJ says violates long-standing norms that federal officials are to be questioned in order of their seniority.

“Contrary to the request of the United States, Mr. Strzok seeks to depose former President Trump before Director Wray,” prosecutors wrote Thursday, “thereby making it impossible to determine if the Director’s deposition might obviate the need to depose the former President.”

Prosecutors are requesting that Judge Jackson order a new deposition schedule. They’ve threatened to take the issue to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals if she does not agree.

“For decades, the D.C. Circuit and virtually every other court of appeals have recognized that subjecting high-level government officials—to say nothing of current or former Presidents—’to oral deposition is not normally countenanced,'” prosecutors wrote in a redacted motion.

The DOJ has asked Judge Jackson to respond to their request to block Trump’s testimony by Tuesday.

An attorney for Strzok declined to comment. Page’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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