The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has declined an urgent request to block the deposition of former President Donald Trump in a legal battle involving the Department of Justice. The lawsuit in question involves former FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who are pursuing separate legal actions. Page’s case centers on alleged violations of her privacy by the DOJ, while Strzok claims wrongful termination.
These two individuals were previously tasked with investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, as well as Russian interference on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 election. During this period, Page and Strzok, who were romantically involved at the time, exchanged text messages expressing their disapproval of Trump and their preference for Clinton in the upcoming election.
Strzok was dismissed from his position during the Trump administration, alleging that the DOJ retaliated against him for exercising his protected speech. Last year, it was reported by The New York Times that former Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly provided a sworn statement in which he claimed that Trump had inquired about the possibility of using the IRS to retaliate against Page and Strzok.
Earlier this year, District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Trump must undergo a deposition as part of the ongoing legal proceedings. On Friday, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit, in a 2-1 vote, rejected the Department of Justice’s petition, which is expected to appeal the decision.
As the Washington Post reported on Friday:
Attorneys for the Justice Department argued that other officials have already testified that their decisions to release the texts and fire Strzok were made independently of Trump. But the plaintiffs say some of those officials did not recall relevant details, and note that Trump personally took credit for driving them both out of the FBI.