Trump seeks to block White House files sent to Jan 6 panel

WASHINGTON – Former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to prevent the National Archives from giving Cong...


WASHINGTON – Former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to prevent the National Archives from giving Congress quick access to his White House documents related to the January 6 riot at the Capitol, arguing that the litigation over whether they are properly protected by his claim of executive privilege should fully unfold first.

In a 54-page thesis Filed in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, Jesse R. Binnall, an attorney for Mr. Trump, reiterated his argument that the Constitution gives the former president the power to keep these files confidential even if he is no longer in office. – and even though President Biden refused to assert executive privilege over them.

“The stakes in this case are high,” Binnall wrote, adding that a decision to uphold the subpoena of Congress against Mr. Trump’s objections would set a precedent that would shift the balance between legislative powers and executive.

“It is naive to assume that the fallout will be limited to President Trump or the events of January 6, 2021,” he wrote. “Every Congress will emphasize something unprecedented about ‘this president’ to justify a request for its presidential records. In these hyperpartisan times, Congress will increasingly and inevitably use this new weapon to perpetually harass its political rival.”

The dispute raises new questions about the scope of executive privilege when invoked by a former president without the support of the outgoing president. It focuses on a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to prevent Congress from certifying Mr. Biden’s electoral victory.

The committee is looking for White House documents that would show Mr. Trump’s movements, meetings and communications before and during the day of the riot. January 6 began with a rally organized by Mr. Trump in which he repeated his baseless claim that the election was stolen from him while he encourage his supporters to “fight like hell” and go to the Capitol.

After Mr Biden, through his White House attorney, told the head of the National Archives he believed it was in the public interest for the Jan.6 committee to get the House records Blanche and therefore would not invoke executive privilege over them, Mr. Trump filed a lawsuit, seeking an injunction preventing the agency from delivering the documents to Congress.

Federal District Court judge Tanya Chutkan last week sided with Congress and the Biden administration. She ruled that while Mr. Trump could invoke executive privilege, any residual secrecy powers he possesses were outweighed in these circumstances by the Congressional constitutional investigative authority backed by Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump “does not recognize the deference due to the judgment of the outgoing president. His position that he can override the express will of the executive seems to be based on the idea that his executive power “exists in perpetuity,” ”Judge Chutkan wrote. “But presidents are not kings, and the plaintiff is not president.”

The National Archives were to provide a first batch of documents to Congress last Friday. (He identified additional lots on an ongoing basis.) Judge Chutkan refused to block the transfer of litigation documents while Mr. Trump appealed his decision, but the DC Circuit Appeal Board issued a short term block to freeze things in place for now.

The Jan. 6 committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, said he wanted to complete his work by the end of spring, raising questions about whether litigation will prevent the panel from accessing the files. before completing any final report.

In his brief, Mr Binnall wrote that it was important that the legal issues were finally resolved before Congress had access to any of the disputed documents, suggesting that it would be of little use to his client. if he ultimately wins the case, but the House has already seen the confidential files.

“The limited interest the committee may have in immediately obtaining the requested documents is paltry compared to President Trump’s interest in obtaining judicial review before he suffers irreparable harm,” Binnall wrote.

Both in power and outside, amid frequent disputes with Congress over access to government information for surveillance investigations, Mr. Trump pursued a strategy of obfuscation rather than negotiating a compromise and d ‘use the generally slow pace of litigation to run out of time.

Against this backdrop, the appeals court panel has scheduled arguments for November 30 on the preliminary question of whether to continue preventing the National Archives from handing over documents to Congress while it examines the legal merits. Mr. Trump’s claim for executive privilege. If he abandoned this bloc, Mr. Trump would most likely appeal to the Supreme Court.

To date, all of the judges randomly assigned to hear the case have been appointed by liberal Democrats. Judge Chutkan was appointed by President Barack Obama, as were two appeals court judges: Patricia A. Millett and Robert L. Wilkins. The third appellate judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, was appointed by Mr Biden.

But if the case gets to the Supreme Court, the atmosphere may be different. Six of the nine judges are conservative Republican candidates, including three that Mr. Trump has appointed to the bench.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Trump seeks to block White House files sent to Jan 6 panel
Trump seeks to block White House files sent to Jan 6 panel
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