High court to let Jan. 6 panel get Trump documents
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 Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The justices 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.
After the high court’s action, there is no legal impediment to turning over the documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration. They include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritten notes dealing with Jan. 6 from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The committee already has begun to receive records Trump wanted kept secret, said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the committee chairman and vice chairwoman, respectively.
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 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 the appeals court determined Trump’s assertion of privilege over the documents would fail under any circumstances, “even if he were the incumbent.”