Department of Justice pRosecutors were granted a reprieve from former President Donald Trump’s impeachment in a four-year civil lawsuit filed Friday by former FBI officials.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in favor of the Justice Department’s request to remove FBI Director Christopher Wray before Trump is questioned in the case brought by the former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and ex-FBI attorney Lisa Page.
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Strzok and Page sued the Justice Department in 2016 after they were fired during the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won. During the investigation, text messages revealed anti-Trump sentiments.
In a rare moment of solidarity, the Biden administration is going to bat for Trump, releasing the termination letter the FBI sent to Strzok. Earlier this year, Jackson ruled that Strzok had the right to interview Trump. However, Justice Department prosecutors asked Jackson on Thursday to postpone the former president’s deposition, which was scheduled for May 24, to first hold a meeting with Wray.
Prosecutors argued that impeaching Trump before Wray violated standing precedent that federal officials are questioned in order of seniority, according to CBS News.
“Contrary to the United States’ request, Mr. Strzok seeks to depose former President Trump before Director Wray,” prosecutors wrote Thursday, “making it impossible to determine whether the Director’s deposition could obviate the need for remove the former president”.
Prosecutors told Jackson they intended to fight it in appeals court if she disagreed.
“[The government] “It may be recalled that the Court’s view was that it was Director Wray, the only current high-ranking public official in the group of proposed declarants, whose essential duties came most directly under the protection of the doctrine at issue.” Jackson wrote in his brief. sentencing Friday evening.
“However, in order to get the parties, who still apparently cannot agree on anything, to overcome this impasse, it is hereby ORDERED that the deposition of Christopher Wray will proceed first, making the motion snapshot is debatable,” he continued.
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The White House said earlier this year it would not assert executive privilege in the case to prevent Strzok and Page from impeaching Trump, and Trump himself did not request that executive privilege be invoked, according to federal prosecutors.
Strzok claims the FBI unfairly fired him for political reasons and is seeking reinstatement at the agency. Page argues in her lawsuit that the text messages that led to her termination were illegally published and violated her privacy rights, prompting “frequent attacks from the President of the United States, as well as from their allies and supporters”.