Former President Donald Trump wants the Supreme Court to block White House documents from reaching the congressional committee investigating last year’s deadly Capitol insurrection.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court in D.C. unanimously determined Trump couldn’t use executive privilege to keep the records—which President Joe Biden authorized for release—secret from the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. But Trump’s spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, had said the case was “always destined for the Supreme Court” anyway.
Trump’s lawyers made good on that promise Thursday, appealing to the high court in filings that asserted his claims to executive privilege were “well established,” and that the congressional panel’s demands for documents were “exceedingly broad.”
“Absent judicial intervention, [former] President Trump will suffer irreparable harm through the effective denial of a constitutional and statutory right to be fully heard on a serious disagreement between the former and incumbent President,” Jesse Binnall, an attorney for Trump, wrote in a filing. “President Trump is more than an ordinary citizen. He is one of only five living Americans who, as former presidents, are granted special authority to make determinations regarding the disclosure of records and communications created during their terms of office.”
During Trump’s single term, he managed to stack the Supreme Court with three conservative justices, with his the most recent appointee, Amy Coney Barrett, ascending to the high court just days just before the November election that Trump lost. In the following months, however, Trump repeatedly and aggressively argued Biden’s win was illegitimate, culminating in the disastrous riot in D.C. the day Congress was set to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory. During that mob attack—which led to several hundred people being charged for ambushing the seat of American democracy—five people died, and the Capitol sustained some $30 million in damage.
Since then, legislators have been reeling from the fallout. The committee to investigate the riots, now led by Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, formed after a House approved its creation in June. By August, the panel had requested heaps of documents, including Trump’s official communications, according to the Washington Post. Trump sued in short order.
“The Committee’s request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration,” Trump’s lawsuit read, according to the Post. “Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former president and his close advisors.”
Others in Trump’s circle haven’t exactly taken the committee’s existence well, either. Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, cooperated with legislators at first, then refused to testify once subpoenaed. The House voted to refer him to the Justice Department for a potential criminal contempt charge. Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, Trump’s onetime chief strategist, is actually facing those kinds of charges after refusing the panel’s questions. (He’s pleaded not guilty.) And, on Wednesday, a federal judge denied Michael Flynn’s motion to block the committee from making him testify or produce documents.
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