March 31, 2023

GRANTED: Judge gives former FBI agent green light to depose Trump & Wray

GRANTED: Judge gives former FBI agent green light to depose Trump & Wray

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A federal judge has granted the requests by former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to have former President Donald Trump and FBI Director Christopher Wray deposed in a lawsuit stemming from the 2018 firing of Strzok by the then-president.

According to the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Strzok and Page will be able to take testimony from Trump and Wray for up to two hours each barring an executive privilege exemption that can be granted by President Joe Biden.

“Today’s ruling addressed the apex doctrine issues only and did not resolve any questions related to either the Presidential communications prong or the deliberative process prong of the executive privilege,” Judge Berman Jackson wrote. “For the reasons stated on the record, the government must inform the Court whether the current President will invoke the executive privilege with respect to the specified topics by March 24, 2023.”

After private text messages between the former federal agents criticizing Trump were reportedly leaked, the fragile one-term president went on a years-long public smear campaign against Strzok and Page in an effort to use the former FBI officials as “proof” that the agency was biased against the MAGA leader.

“In the suits, Strzok and Page contend that Trump and his Justice Department appointees were carrying out a political vendetta,” Politico wrote.

The Department of Justice denied these allegations:

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“The Justice Department and the FBI have both denied that Trump’s public attacks played any role in the bureau’s decision to fire Strzok, saying it was a decision arrived at by career officials and carried out without political pressure.” – Politico

Hundredsof personal communications between Strzok and Page were released by Trump’s DOJ, an act the pair claims is an invasion of privacy as they seek information surrounding the incident that preceded Strzok’s firing and Page’s resignation.

The depositions will be limited in scope to a narrow set of topics, but that makes Judge Berman’s ruling no less significant.

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The Obama appointee references the “apex doctrine,” in her decision, which mandates plaintiffs investigate from the bottom up and secure pertinent information from lower-level associates before moving up the ladder.

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The debate around executive privilege has resurfaced since Trump left office.

Multiple criminal and civil cases have brought constitutional protection to the forefront as allies and co-conspirators in the ex-president’s coup plot find themselves in legal crosshairs.

It remains to be seen whether Trump will attempt to assert a privilege claim, or if his successor will extend the privilege to him, but Judge Berman Jackson’s ruling is an indication that where there’s smoke, there’s fire–a dumpster fire when it comes to Trump.

Original reporting by Kyle Cheney, and Josh Gerstein at Politico.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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