Trump seeks to release presidential documents in large audience Thursday

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Trump has asked the DC District Court to prevent the National Archives from turning over more than 700 pages of documents to the Special House Committee investigating on January 6. He claimed the House investigation was illegitimate and that his role as former president should give him control over reviewing and deciding access to records.

The hearing can be the pivotal moment in a potentially historic legal battle over the authority of a former Speaker, the investigative power of the House, and the scope of executive privilege.

It is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. ET.

In the short term, the case could also have huge implications for the House’s bipartisan inquiry, which calls for records and witnesses before the midterm elections take place next year. Without access to documents, the Chamber could be considerably hampered in its investigation.

In court, the Chamber made its investigation one of its most critical tasks in history. “In 2021, for the first time since the civil war, the Nation has not experienced a peaceful transfer of power,” Chamber lawyers wrote over the weekend. “A peaceful transfer of power from one president to another is crucial to the continuation of our democratic government. It’s hard to imagine a more critical topic for congressional inquiry, and Mr. Trump’s arguments cannot overcome this pressing legislative need. “

Judge Tanya Chutkan could rule on Thursday, even from the bench during the hearing. Any outcome is subject to appeal, but time is running out for both the House and Trump.

The National Archives, part of the executive branch that inherited Trump’s presidential records after he left, has already ruled that the House should have access to the records of Trump’s tenure as president. The agency is expected to hand them over from next week, November 12, unless Chutkan or an appeals court decides otherwise.

Trump has looked to the court system several times in recent years to slow down or prevent Congress from accessing files he says should be kept private. The courts are still resolving many of these disputes, such as in cases relating to his personal accounting firm’s work, his IRS tax returns, and his company’s banking records.
While president, he was able to suspend subpoenas of his closest advisers using broad claims of privilege and the support of the Department of Justice. And even before Trump’s presidency, lawsuits over executive privilege in document collections dragged on for years.

But the executive privilege issues raised by Trump now put the tribunal in a new position by weighing the needs of the House against its pleas for privacy for its now expired term.

“Allowing the expansive demand here would hurt future presidents and their close associates by allowing invasive congressional fishing expeditions that will certainly chill sincere advice and harm the institution of the presidency,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in court this morning. week.

The files Trump wants to keep under wraps for now appear to be a treasure trove of notes from his top advisers related to his insistence the election was stolen and his reaction to his supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. . They include parts of the files. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, from whom the committee requested testimony, and other key figures such as Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Over the past few weeks, Meadows has engaged with the House but has not spoken – an apparent impasse that could change depending on the outcome of the Trump case.

The Archives gave a taste of what Trump is trying to protect in a list, down to page count, handwritten notes, draft public statements, call logs to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence , records of visitors to the White House and more from the files of top White House officials.

These types of documents, if obtained by the House, could answer some of the most closely guarded facts of what happened minute-by-minute between Trump and other high-level officials, including those around. of him watching the headquarters and the officials who were attacked.

The White House Biden has ruled it will not claim executive privilege over the files the Archives has examined so far, citing the extraordinary situation of the attack on Congress.

The Archives continue to work on Trump’s papers and set dates for their dispatch to Congress.

“President Biden’s sober determination that the public interest requires disclosure is patently reasonable, and it is up to him to do so,” lawyers for the Biden administration wrote in court.


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