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Supreme Court allows January 6 committee to get Trump documents

Published:Wednesday | January 19, 2022 | 8:12 PM
The court noted that the appeals court determined that Trump’s assertion of privilege over the documents would fail under any circumstances, “even if he were the incumbent.

WASHINGTON (AP) —
In a rebuff to former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court is allowing the release of presidential documents sought by the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

The justices on Wednesday rejected a bid by Trump to withhold the documents from the committee until the issue is finally resolved by the courts.

Trump's lawyers had hoped to prolong the court fight and keep the documents on hold.

Following the high court's action, there is no legal impediment to turning over the documents, which are held by the National Archives and Records Administration.

They include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritten notes dealing with January 6 from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.

The House committee agreed to defer its attempt to get some documents, at the request of the Biden White House.

The current administration was concerned that releasing all of the Trump administration documents sought by the committee could compromise national security and executive privilege.

Alone among the justices, Clarence Thomas said he would have granted Trump's request to keep the documents on hold.

Trump's attorneys had asked the high court to reverse rulings by the federal appeals court in Washington and block the release of the records even after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege over them.

In an unsigned opinion, the court acknowledged there are “serious and substantial concerns” over whether a former president can win a court order to prevent disclosure of certain records from his time in office in a situation like this one.

But the court noted that the appeals court determined that Trump's assertion of privilege over the documents would fail under any circumstances, “even if he were the incumbent.”

It said the issue of a former president's ability to claim executive privilege would have to wait for another day.

The court took issue with the conclusion of the appeals court that downplayed a former president's interests, suggesting that the current president could in essence ignore his predecessor's claims.

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