The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected this Wednesday a request by former President Donald Trump to block the delivery of documentation from the White House related to the assault on the Capitol. The decision of the highest court —with a conservative majority, and with three magistrates appointed by the former Republican president— clears the legal path so that the investigative commission of Congress can access the almost 800 pages of records requested on the attack of January 6, 2021 .
Among the documents requested by the committee from the National Archives, the institution that guards those records, is information related to Trump’s main advisers and memos to his press secretary. Also the daily call from the White House, a record of his activities, trips, briefings and phone calls from the president. Trump’s lawyers failed in their attempt to hide the information by invoking executive privilege, a legal provision that protects the president’s communications with his team. President Joe Biden refused to invoke executive privilege in this case.
“President Trump is more than an ordinary citizen,” Trump’s lawyers said in their letter to the Supreme Court to block the release of the documents as the legal battle continues in the lower courts. “He is one of five living Americans who, as former presidents, are given special authority to make determinations regarding the disclosure of records and communications created during their terms,” the justices added. According to the former president, if the requested records are made public, national security will be in danger.
Lawyers for the investigative commission, made up of seven Democratic and two Republican legislators, defended their position before the High Court, arguing that it should not torpedo their investigation. The committee’s work “is of the utmost importance and urgency: to investigate one of the darkest episodes in our nation’s history, a deadly assault on the United States Capitol and Congress, and an unprecedented disruption of the peaceful transfer of power.” from one president to another,” they wrote.
Only Justice Clarence Thomas went on record that he was against rejecting Trump’s request, but he did not explain why. The magistrates also did not leave in writing the reasons for their decision.
On November 9, a federal judge overruled Trump’s defense for the first time. Judge Tanya Chutkan then concluded that the congressional commission had the right to receive this documentation and defended that “Trump’s position that he can override the express will of the executive power [en alusión a la decisión de Biden de autorizar la entrega de documentos] it seems to be based on the notion that their power exists in perpetuity.” “But presidents are not kings,” he said. Trump’s lawyers appealed the ruling and a month later, a federal appeals court upheld Judge Chutkan’s decision.
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