Supreme Court rules on Trump appeal in January 6 investigation

Top US court denies bid by former President Donald Trump to block White House records being released

America’s Supreme Court has denied former President Donald Trump’s appeal to prevent his White House records from being obtained by the House committee investigating his alleged role in the Capitol riot last year.

Issued on Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s brief order follows a DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last month saying that Trump had not met the required burden to assert executive privilege over documents.

The Supreme Court stated in a previous ruling denying Trump’s executive privilege request that his status as a former president “made no difference in the court’s decision.” The court also said the question of “whether and in what circumstances a former President may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent President to waive the privilege, are unprecedented and raise serious and substantial concerns.”

With Trump’s appeal failing, it could put an end to his continued efforts to block the House committee from obtaining his records.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh released an opinion last month on the prior ruling, disagreeing with the notion that an ex-president cannot assert privilege over documents. 

“A former President must be able to successfully invoke the Presidential communications privilege for communications that occurred during his Presidency, even if the current President does not support the privilege claim,” he wrote at the time. 

The investigative committee has been seeking call and visitor logs, speech drafts, and other documents kept by Trump’s senior staff while in the White House, especially around the weeks of the riot, which was preceded by a speech in Washington DC where Trump continued to push his theory that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. 

The more than 750 pages of documents being sought are kept in the National Archives. 

Members of the January 6 subcommittee have celebrated the Supreme Court’s support. “The Select Committee has already begun to receive records that the former President had hoped to keep hidden and we look forward to additional productions regarding this important information,” a statement from the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), and vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), read. 

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