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Former President Donald Trump is hitting back and asking the Supreme Court to step in and stop the National Archives from handing White House documents to the House Select Committee on January 6.
This comes weeks after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the National Archives to give the committee the requested documents, The Daily Mail reported.
It now puts the constitutional challenge before the high court, where Trump nominated three of the nine sitting justices and represents a last-ditch effort to shield the documents from the committee that has interviewed hundreds of witnesses in its effort to reconstruct the events leading up to the Capitol riot.
Earlier this month, a three-judge panel – two judges appointed by Barack Obama and one by Biden – unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling denying Trump a preliminary injunction to stop the release of records.
Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency appeal to meet a deadline imposed by the lower court.
The January 6th Committee has sought records, logs, photographs, and calendars as it probes Trump’s election overturn effort and the Capitol riot on the day Congress met to count the electoral votes that made Biden president.
Attorneys for Trump “both the Constitution and the Presidential Records Act give former Presidents a clear right to protect their confidential records from premature dissemination. This case presents a clear threat to that right.”
And they argued that the Appeals Court ruling was “troubling,” and they said that it “lacks any meaningful or objective limiting principle. In an increasingly partisan political climate, such records requests will become the norm regardless of what party is in power.”
Because President Joe Biden did not protect the documents with executive privilege the appeals court decided that the former president could not.
“On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents,” the court said.
The Supreme Court ruled in January not to allow Trump to block the documents via executive privilege, Politico reported.
The nation’s highest court stated that Trump’s effort failed because his assertion of executive privilege would have failed even if he were still in office.
The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the panel getting the Trump White House documents.
Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the high court who said he would have granted Trump’s request for emergency relief.
“The questions whether and in what circumstances a former President may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent President to waive the privilege, are unprecedented and raise serious and substantial concerns,” the high court said.
“Because the Court of Appeals concluded that President Trump’s claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former President necessarily made no difference to the court’s decision,” the unsigned order added.
Trump had previously sued to block the records from being given to the committee from the National Archives, but an appeals court denied him.
“The President of the United States and Congress have each made the judgment that access to this subset of presidential communication records is necessary to address a matter of great constitutional moment for the Republic,” the court said.
Attorneys for Trump told the Supreme Court that a recent interview with the chair of the committee in The Washington Post showed that the committee wants to establish a criminal complaint against Trump, which is beyond its scope.
The brief with the court was in reference to a December 23 interview with Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson where he said that the committee is looking intently into the former president’s actions on January 6 as it decides whether to recommend The Justice Department start a criminal investigation into Trump.
“The Washington Post has confirmed what was already apparent — the Committee is indeed seeking any excuse to refer a political rival for criminal charges, and they are using this investigation to do so,” Jesse R. Binnall, an attorney for the former president, said.
He said that the committee is acting as “an inquisitorial tribunal seeking evidence of criminal activity,” which is “outside of any of Congress’s legislative powers.”