Supreme Court shoots down Trump’s bid to block release of WH documents regarding Jan 6th insurrection

SCOTUS

The Supreme Court gave a clear slap to Trump as they shot down his bid to block the release of his White House documents to the House Panel. 

This decision means that the panel will have the authority to investigate further into his West Wing and fully understand what has happened before and during the Capitol attack. The National Archives announced midday on Thursday that they were now under the process of giving Trump’s documents to the panel. 

Overall, there are more than 700 pages of records including calling logs, speeches, and three pages of handwritten notes from former chief of staff Mark Meadows which will be transferred from the National Archives. There are also other top official records from the former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and former Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin. The documents will be out of public view, for now, however, House Select Committee Chairman  Bennie Thompson said that at some point documents will be made public. 

As the House Panel is currently speaking to more than 400 witnesses, and have documents from top officials, Trumpโ€™s White House documents will likely fill in the key puzzles about whether Trump knew about the level of violence the attack would lead to. The House panel members are exploring the delay in Trump calling off the rioters and whether that is a possible dereliction of duty. Furthermore, these documents may show legitimate proof of Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn Biden’s win before the attack.  

Bennie Thompson, also a Mississippi Democrat and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said the decision is a “victory for the rule of law and American democracy”. Another committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that the decision was a “very big deal for getting the truth out.”

Other than this, the Supreme Court also endorsed a key finding by the lower courtsโ€™ currently a law where witnesses can’t challenge in Washington DC- the House committee “plainly” has reasons to seek documents related to Jan 6.

The Court’s decisions relied on the DC Circuit’s finding that Trump would have lost the case, even if he were President now. DC Circuit said, “Under any of the tests advocated by former President Trump, the profound interests in disclosure advanced by President Biden and the January 6th Committee far exceed his generalized concerns for Executive Branch confidentiality.” The DC Circuit questioned Trump who failed to provide valid reasons as to why certain individual documents should be under executive privilege. So this means that Trump can try and contest the decision in the future. 

Trump’s strategy was to delay and wait it out until next year- until Republicans take over the House and end the investigation. Therefore, the decision is a big booster for the House panel as they race against time before that happens. 

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the committee had subpoenaed and obtained phone number records from Eric Trump, one of the President’s sons, and Kimberly Guilfoyle who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr. The committee is also particularly interested in finding out the level of communication and coordination between Trump’s team and the Washington rally organizers. Committee members are also investigating the legal scheme created by some Trump advisers, which was supposed to convince former Vice-President Mike Pence to interfere in the process of counting electoral votes. And Pence was supposed to interfere which is obvious from some of the text messages revealed previously. 

This was the second legal slap to Trump, the first being findings of “misleading or fraudulent” financial statements from his business empire by the New York Attorney General’s office. Well, this will hurt more since Trump’s Supreme nominees’ Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett did not publicly object to denying Trump’s bid to keep his records secret. 

Though this has been a positive move towards finding out the truth behind the attack, it is unlikely to stop the wave of insurrection politics. The Republican Party is doing its best in covering up Trump’s role in the attack as he is aspiring to bid for the 2024 elections. Worst is, millions of his supporters are convinced by his false claims of electoral fraud and the fact that the “real” insurrection was in November 2020. This will also most likely lead to more polarization in American politics, and in the general public, which will be difficult to undo.