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Topline

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to block the National Archives from handing over about 800 pages of Trump Administration records to a House committee investigating the Capitol riot.

Key Facts

The Trump Administration materials requested by the January 6 committee include visitor and call logs, emails, draft speeches and handwritten notes.

Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, was alone in publicly supporting Trump’s application to block disclosure of the files, which came after the D.C. District Court and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals also rejected Trump’s request last year.

The high court didn’t weigh in on whether a former president can invoke “executive privilege” to stop confidential records from being released, noting that the appeals court said even if he was still president, it would’ve rejected his request.

Key Background

In his application to block disclosure of the documents, Trump invoked executive privilege, a doctrine that allows the president to withhold certain information from the public in defense of the public interest. Lawyers representing Trump argued that the House committee had no legislative reason to “rifle through the confidential, presidential papers of a former president to meet political objectives or advance a case study.” A federal appeals court ruled last month that President Joe Biden’s decision not to withhold the documents, and Congress’s stated need for the material, outweighed Trump’s concerns.

Crucial Quote

“Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President’s constitutional responsibilities,” White House counsel Dana A. Remus wrote in October, when denying Trump’s request to withhold the documents under executive privilege. “The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.”

Further Reading

“In Rebuke to Trump, Supreme Court Won’t Block Release of Jan. 6 Files” (New York Times)

Source: Forbes – Business

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