Court Denies Trump Appeal to Hide Capitol Raid Documents | International

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The US Capitol, on January 6, during the attack by Donald Trump supporters.
The US Capitol, on January 6, during the attack by Donald Trump supporters.Leah Millis (Reuters)

A federal appeals court has ruled this Thursday against former President Donald Trump in his attempt to avoid delivering documentation from the White House regarding the attack on the Capitol on January 6 and claimed by the committee investigating the assault in which five died persons. Even so, the court grants Trump’s legal team two weeks to be able to appeal to the Supreme Court -with a conservative majority and three magistrates appointed by the president-, something that they had already requested on November 30 before the possibility that they would fail in their against.

The House of Representatives special committee investigating the largest onslaught ever against American democracy has requested more than 770 pages of documentation, including records of Trump’s top advisers and memoranda from his press secretary. Among the records are documents from Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former adviser Stephen Miller and former deputy attorney Patrick Philbin. Trump also hoped to block the publication of the White House newspaper, a record of his activities, travel, briefings and phone calls.

Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the creation of the committee in late June, there has been a tug of war between the current Democratic Administration and former President Trump. For his part, Joe Biden authorized the National Archives, which is the institution that guards such archives, to deliver such sensitive documentation. The Democrat flatly rejected the Republican’s argument that if certain reports were to see the light of day, national security would be in jeopardy.

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Starting in October, Trump’s many lawyers began the fight to stop the delivery of that documentation. But a federal judge denied the former president of his wish. Judge Tanya Chutkan concluded that the House committee was entitled to receive such documentation. The judge defended that “Trump’s position that he can override the express will of the executive branch appears to be based on the notion that his power exists in perpetuity.” “But presidents are not kings,” he said. Chutkan determined that in a dispute over whether or not some documents should be made public, the decision of the acting president always prevails over the one who has already left office.

When it was taken for granted that the papers that could compromise Trump and his environment were about to be released, the tycoon’s lawyers appealed the judge’s decision and a panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the appeal. Trump’s legal team claimed in its lawsuit that the case raised important questions, such as whether a former president can sue a successor to prevent delivery of government records to Congress. In the opinion of Trump’s lawyers, the institution of the presidency would be irreparably damaged if the documents were made public.

Justices Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Jackson denied Trump’s request and argued unanimously, establishing the first constitutional controversy of its kind, that Biden had the right to deny the executive privilege claimed by his predecessor in office. “The events of January 6 revealed the fragility of democratic institutions and traditions that perhaps we had taken for granted,” reads the opinion drawn up by Judge Millett, appointed to her position by former President Barack Obama. “In response, the President of the United States and Congress have ruled that access to the presidential communications registry is necessary in order to address a matter of great importance to the Republic,” the ruling continues. “Former President Trump has not given this court any legal reason why we can set aside President Biden’s assessment that the interests of the executive branch are at stake.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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