Donald Trump will not have to testify under oath in a lawsuit by two former FBI agents, a federal court ruled Friday.
The Justice Department had requested the step, arguing under the “summit doctrine” that lawyers for the former agents should testify to FBI Director Christopher Wray before seeking information from a higher-ranking official.
The lawsuit in question is from former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who criticized Donald Trump in messages on government phones amid the 2016 election and investigations into possible Trump campaign ties. with Russia.
In an August 2016 exchange, Ms. Page wondered if Donald Trump “is ever going to become president, right? Good?!”
“No. No, it’s not. We’ll stop it,” Strzok replied.
The two officers, who were the subject of numerous angry public statements by Trump, argued that they were singled out for retaliation.
Strzok sought reinstatement and back pay, while Ms Page argued that the government improperly shared the messages with journalists.
A federal court previously said that both Trump and Wray could be deposed, before the Justice Department intervened.
“The court’s ruling was appropriate in light of all the facts,” US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said of the original decision in Friday’s ruling. “However, in order for the parties, who apparently cannot yet agree on anything, to overcome this impasse, Christopher Wray’s deposition is ORDERED to proceed first.”
The dispute comes as Trump is under intense legal scrutiny.
Earlier this week, he was found responsible for the sexual abuse of writer E Jean Carroll, a verdict the former president said he plans to appeal.
Trump is also facing numerous other investigations and trials, including a special counsel investigation and a secret money criminal case in Manhattan.