House Committee Wins Access to Trump’s Jan 6th-Related Documents

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Courtesy of The Epoch Times (Flickr CC0)

The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol began to receive former President Donald Trump’s documents from the National Archive within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision refusing his appeal. A spokesperson for the House committee said they “had received only some of the documents and expected the rest to be delivered as quickly as the archives could produce them,” according to The New York Times.

House Committee
Courtesy of McConnell Center (Flickr CC0)

Trump’s effort to stop the transfer of hundreds of pages of records from his presidency came to an end on Wednesday when the Supreme Court cleared the way for the House committee’s record to be fulfilled. Clarence Thomas was the only Justice to believe that the former president should let the appeal stand while the court further discusses the lower court’s findings.

Having the Archives release his papers is something that the former president has fought since the House committee convened to determine the dynamics and individuals behind the planning and execution of the attack against the seat of American democracy.

When the House committee announced they wanted Trump’s presidential documents, memos, emails, and White House communication and visitor records, they notified both President Joe Biden and the former president. He demanded the files stay put, that the House committee could not have them since he claimed Executive Privilege. Trump is no longer the Commander-in-Chief, and it appears he does not have that power and President Joe Biden refused to grant him the privilege. He instructed the National Archives to hand over the requested documents.

After having two lower courts rule against him: Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of Washington Federal District Court in November and a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld that ruling in December, Trump filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court to keep the House Committee from seeing his files.

House Committee
Courtesy of Brett Davis (Flickr CC0)

The D.C. appeals court ruled that Trump retained limited authority to claim Executive Privilege. Nonetheless, his power was not strong enough to overrule Biden’s decision since the House Committee has a legitimate need for the papers. The 3-judge panel cited a 1977 SCOTUS decision in the case between the National Archives and former President Richard M. Nixon. The Justices wrote that the current president was in the best position to decide if privilege could be asserted.

Legal counsel arguing Trump’s case claimed that allowing Biden to make the decision would not encourage future presidents to aid congressional attempts to obtain White House records involving previous presidents for partisan political reasons. They also asserted that forcing Trump to turn over his administration records could discourage future presidential aides from providing candid advice.

By allowing the Trump administration files to be released to The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol before handing down their decision on the lower court’s position on Presidental Privilege, essentially allows the National Archives to release any attack-related papers the House Committee requests.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

NBC News: Supreme Court won’t block release of Trump documents to Jan 6 committee; by Pete Williams
The Hill: Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell; by Rebecca Beitsch
The New York Times: In Rebuke to Trump, Supreme Court Allows Release of Jan. 6 Files; by Adam Liptak

Featured and Top Image by Samira Bouaou Courtesy of The Epoch Times’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Brett Davis’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of McConnell Center’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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