Donald Trump asks SC to block release of documents relating to Capitol riot probe

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Dec 24, 2021, 09:27 AM(IST)

According to the complaint, Melnick told US Capitol Police during an interrogation in July 2020 that if Trump “loses the 2020 election and refused to step down” he would “acquire weapons and take him down.” Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

An appeals court this month agreed with a lower court that President Joe Biden could waive executive privilege on the records. This would enable them to be handed over to the panel investigating the violence committed by Trump supporters

Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to prevent the release of White House documents to a congressional committee reviewing the assault on the Capitol by his supporters on January 6.

The former president asked the nation's highest court to stay a decision this month by a federal appeals court that rejected his request for the documents and records to be kept secret.

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Trump, who has been accused of fomenting the assault on Congress, is attempting to maintain the secrecy of White House records related to the attack as a former president.

An appeals court this month agreed with a lower court that President Joe Biden could waive executive privilege on the records. This would enable them to be handed over to the panel investigating the violence committed by Trump supporters.

Lawyers for Donald Trump argued in a filing with the Supreme Court that, even after the term, former presidents have the right to invoke executive privilege.

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They condemned the congressional records request as "strikingly broad" and accused the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives committee of looking into a "political foe."

"Congress may not rifle through the confidential, presidential papers of a former President to meet political objectives," Trump's lawyers said.

"In an increasingly partisan political climate, such records requests will become the norm regardless of what party is in power," they said.

Arguing in defence of executive privilege, Trump's lawyers say it affects "the ability of presidents and their advisers to reliably make and receive full and frank advice, without concern that communications will be publicly released to meet a political objective."

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It was decided by the US Court of Appeals to delay the release of the White House records until the lawyers of the former Republican president could file their appeal with the Supreme Court.

Trump's lawyers requested that the conservative majority Supreme Court schedule a hearing about whether the probe request is constitutional and to block the release of the documents in the meantime.

In its ruling, the appeals court noted that the right of a former president carries no more weight than the right of an incumbent.

"In this case, President Biden, as the head of the Executive Branch, has specifically found that Congress has demonstrated a compelling need for these very documents and that disclosure is in the best interests of the nation," the court said.

Regarding the records, which are held by the National Archives, the court said that the public interest is greater than Trump's.

Emails, phone records, briefing materials, and other records are among the documents Trump hopes to block.

The Representatives of the House Select Committee investigate the attempt by hundreds of Trump supporters to block the certification of the victory of President Biden in November 2020 are seeking these records.

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It also includes records of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his former senior advisor Stephen Miller, and his former deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.

In addition, Trump has opposed the release of the White House Daily Diary, -- records of his activities, trips, briefings, and phone calls.

Another pile of documents Trump refuses to share with Congress includes memos he wrote to his former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, a handwritten note about the events of January 6 and the text of his speech at the "Save America" rally, which preceded the attack.

(With inputs from agencies)

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