Assertion of Preemption by Trump Rejected by Federal Judge
According to a federal court, the congressional committee investigating the January 6 riots was correct in its decision not to stop the release by the Trump administration of dozens of White House papers.
A federal judge has dismissed former President Trump’s lawsuit, which sought to prevent the National Archives from providing documents to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The former President has immediately filed an appeal of the decision, which is expected to be heard soon.
Earlier this month, Trump filed a lawsuit against the committee in an attempt to prevent the National Archives from providing the committee with data pertaining to his tenure in office, including telephone records, visitor logs, and other papers, on the grounds of executive privilege.
In a ruling issued Tuesday evening, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said that President Biden is “ideally positioned” to evaluate whether or not a previous president’s request for executive privilege should be granted.
“Plaintiff does not recognize the respect that should be accorded to the incumbent President’s decision. His argument that he has the authority to overrule the explicit intent of the executive branch seems to be based on the assumption that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity,’ according to the Constitution.” Chutkan, who President Barack Obama appointed, issued a 39-page ruling. Presidents, on the other hand, are not kings, and Plaintiff is not a President.”
The Hill has reached out to Trump and the committee that will meet on January 6 for comment.
The National Archives was scheduled to deliver the papers to the members of Congress on Friday. In a court filing this week, Trump’s attorneys had promised that they would file an appeal by Wednesday if Chutkan would not decide by then.
With the judge’s judgment on Tuesday, it seems doubtful that the issue will be resolved. Because of the many unresolved legal issues at stake in the case, as well as Trump’s feeling of urgency amid the panel’s investigation, the case might be heard by the Supreme Court very soon.
According to a Trump spokeswoman on Twitter, the former President would appeal the ruling.
“From the beginning, it was clear that the struggle to maintain Executive Privilege for President’s past, present, and future would be resolved by the Appellate Courts,” the spokesperson, Taylor Budowich, stated in a statement. “President Trump remains dedicated to protecting the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency, and he intends to see this process through to its conclusion.”
According to Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), President Trump’s lawsuit was “nothing more than an effort to delay and impede our inquiry,” according to the judgment issued on January 6.
“The presidential documents we sought from the National Archives are crucial in comprehending the awful events of January 6. We hope to get them soon. When it has been in the public interest to do so, the Executive Branch of our government has submitted testimony and information to Congress at various times throughout our country’s history. The decision made this evening is consistent with that tradition. “Thompson shared his thoughts.
Last week, Chutkan expressed her skepticism about Trump’s lawsuit at a hearing in which she questioned his lawyer’s assertion that the House did not have a legitimate legislative purpose for requesting the documents in issue.
When she issued her judgment on Tuesday, the judge said that the absence of a disagreement between the White House and the committee was a significant element in her decision.
“The legislative and executive branches think that the Select Committee’s probe is in the public’s best interests in terms of the balance of equities,” she said in her letter. According to the court, “the two branches of government will not be second-guessed when they have traditionally negotiated their own answers to congressional demands for presidential records.”
The panel is battling on numerous fronts to advance its inquiry into what led to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, which is now underway.
The House is awaiting a judgment from the Department of Justice on whether to prosecute former White House advisor Stephen Bannon with criminal contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena issued by the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
The select committee also considers whether to file another criminal contempt referral against Jeffrey Clark, a former Trump Justice Department employee. In an interview with panel investigators last week, he refused to answer questions concerning the events of January 6, 2018