Trump has requested the United States Supreme Court to delay a judgment by a federal appeals court that rejected his bid to keep the documents and data secret earlier this month.
Trump, who has been accused of instigating the attack on Congress, is attempting to exploit his previous president’s privilege to keep White House records and correspondence related to the incident secret.
The appeals court agreed with a lower court ruling earlier this month that President Joe Biden may waive executive privilege on the recordings and hand them over to a commission probing Trump supporters’ violence.
Trump’s attorneys said in a Supreme Court brief that “even after his time of office, a former president retains the ability to invoke executive privilege.”
They called the congressional documents request “strikingly wide” and accused the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives committee of investigating a “political opponent.”
“Congress may not go through a former President’s secret presidential files to achieve political goals,” Trump’s attorneys claimed.
“In an increasingly polarised political context, such documents demands will become the norm,” they wrote, regardless of which party is in power.
Executive privilege, according to Trump’s attorneys, impacts “the capacity of presidents and their advisers to dependably make and receive full and candid counsel, without fear of communications being publicly published to suit a political aim.”
The US Court of Appeals decided to postpone the publication of the White House papers until the former Republican president’s lawyers could submit a Supreme Court appeal.
Trump’s attorneys have urged the conservative-majority Supreme Court to hold a hearing to determine if the request for the investigation is lawful and, in the interim, to prevent the records from being released.
In response, a House select committee probing the Capitol insurgency allegedly sought the Supreme Court to expedite the review of Trump’s case, claiming that a delay would “inflict substantial harm” on the committee and the public.
The general public’s interest
“The prerogative of a previous president definitely has no higher weight than that of the present,” the appeals court ruled in its decision.
“In this case, President Biden has expressly decided that Congress has proven a compelling need for these very papers and that disclosure is in the best interests of the nation,” the court stated.
The appeals court said that the public interest in the materials, which are maintained by the National Archives, outweighed Trump’s.
The data are being requested by the House Select Committee probing hundreds of Trump supporters’ attempts on January 6 to prevent Biden’s November 2020 election victory from being certified.
Emails, phone records, briefing materials, and other data are among the documents Trump wishes to suppress.
The records of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his former senior advisor Stephen Miller, and his former deputy counsel Patrick Philbin are among the more than 770 pages.
Trump has also tried to keep the White House Daily Diary, a record of his activities, visits, briefings, and phone conversations, from being made public.
Memos to Trump’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, a handwritten note on the January 6 events, and a draught transcript of his address at the “Save America” rally, which before the attack, are among the materials Trump does not want Congress to view.