Former President Donald Trump failed to stop the congressional committee that was investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol to get access to his archived White House records.
In a 3-0 decision, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected Trump’s attempt at challenging President Joe Biden’s decision not to support Trump’s claim of executive privilege over certain categories of documents that the Jan. 6 committee requested from the National Archives.
“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,” Judge Patricia Millett wrote.
“Both Branches agree that there is a unique legislative need for these documents and that they are directly relevant to the Committee’s inquiry into an attack on the Legislative Branch and its constitutional role in the peaceful transfer of power.”
That being said, Thursday’s decision does not mean that the committee will immediately get the documents. The court will allow Donald 14 days to petition the US Supreme Court to step in on his behalf. During arguments prior to the circuit panel on Nov. 30, Trump’s attorney, Justin Clark, told the judges that they would try to take the case up to the Supreme Court if they lost.
Millett shared how Donald had overwhelmingly failed to convince the court and how Biden was likely to win the case due to the following reasons:
Biden’s “carefully reasoned and cabined” decision that asserting executive privilege wasn’t in the country’s interest. Congress’s “uniquely vital interest” in studying the Jan. 6 attack. The relevance of Trump’s records to the committee’s work. The fact that there was no other way for the committee to get the information that was in those documents. And last but not least, Trump’s “failure even to allege, let alone demonstrate” how it would impact Trump in any way if he did disclose the records.
The judge then quoted in part Benjamin Franklin stating— “that we have ‘[a] Republic’ — ‘if [we] can keep it,’” — and that the “events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted.”
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