“The select committee has detailed the information it seeks from the plaintiff (Meadows) and the importance of this evidence to the work of the select committee,” Justice Department attorneys wrote. “The select committee has demonstrated that this information is essential to its investigation.”
During their tenure, Trump and his White House routinely cited “absolute immunity” that would excuse them from appearing when Congress subpoenaed their testimony.
Biden’s Justice Department still supports this protection of advisers to sitting presidents, citing the need to give the presidency some sphere of secrecy when Congress seeks information. But the department says the immunity claim isn’t as compelling once a president leaves office.
The DOJ filing says advisers like Meadows who worked for former presidents could have what’s called “qualified immunity,” meaning the secrecy protections over their work while in office could fall if Congress showed the need.
The question of how much immunity extends around the president has not been settled by the courts, and a trial judge has yet to weigh in the Meadows case.