Posted 114 days ago
The Biden Justice Department moved to block a subpoena to depose former President Donald Trump sent by Peter Strzok, who sued the FBI for wrongful termination from his role as special agent after the emergence of his anti-Trump texts.
The DOJ recommended that the court "quash the subpoena" calling Trump to testify, as his effect on Strzok's firing was not demonstrated by the lawsuit's evidence as it presently stands.
"Such depositions cannot proceed unless the party seeking the testimony can make the weighty showing that the sitting or former official possesses directly relevant information that cannot be obtained from other sources," read the filing, which was submitted Friday to the Southern District of New York for the case pending in Washington, D. C., district court.
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Trump played a role in his firing by "directly and indirectly [pressuring] FBI Director Wray and then-Attorney General Sessions to fire Special Agent Strzok when his text messages critical of the President were first disclosed,” Strzok's lawsuit claimed.
The DOJ may allow the subpoena to proceed in the future if FBI Director Christopher Wray and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions were to reveal in their testimonies that they were "directly influenced" by the former president. Trump's deposition was the first Strzok's lawsuit requested.
The Justice Department pointed out that future discovery in Strzok’s lawsuit “may reveal, for example, that even if the officials directly responsible for Mr. Strzok’s firing were aware of communications from then-President Trump, they were not influenced by those communications” and argued that “it is too soon to assess whether deposition testimony from the former President is truly needed.”
The Justice Department said 14,000 pages of discovery had been provided to Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who also sued the bureau, so far.
The lawsuits from Strzok and Page are being handled jointly by the Justice Department.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the civil cases, ruled in November that all fact discovery in the lawsuits must be done by March 1 and all expert discovery by April 15, with another joint status report and a status conference later in April.
Strzok filed a civil lawsuit against then-Attorney General William Barr, the FBI, and Wray in August 2019, claiming he was wrongfully terminated in 2018 after the discovery of anti-Trump texts with Page, with whom he was romantically involved. He played a key role in opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation in 2016 and interviewed retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in January 2017.
Strzok, a key figure in both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation, also alleged his constitutional rights were violated and is seeking reinstatement at and back pay from the bureau. He claimed in his lawsuit that his firing is “the result of unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media” and condemned what he called the “deliberate and unlawful disclosure to the media” of his texts.
“Just fired Agent Strzok, formerly of the FBI, was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation,” Trump tweeted at the time. “It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!”
Strzok came under heavy criticism after the revelation of thousands of highly ... (Read more)