Former President Donald Trump went to the Supreme Court on Thursday in a last-ditch bid to keep records out of the hands of a House committee probing his supporters’ Jan. 6 Capitol insurgency.
Trump’s lawyers have urged the Supreme Court to overturn lower court orders against the former president, who has sought to keep the information from being released despite President Joe Biden’s waiver of executive privilege. The committee had a “uniquely critical interest” in the records, according to a federal appeals court in Washington, and Trump had “given no justification” for it to defy Biden and Congress.
According to a previous court filing from the National Archives, the records include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts, handwritten notes “concerning the events of January 6” from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and “a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity.”
Trump’s submission came on the same day that an appeals court’s administrative injunction was slated to expire. For the time being, the order against the release of records will stay in effect. The House committee’s lawyers requested the Supreme Court later Thursday to speed up its proceedings so that the matter might be heard as soon as mid-January.
“The Select Committee urgently need the sought materials to assist in shaping the investigation’s course and to allow the Select Committee to quickly suggest corrective legislation,” the committee’s attorneys said.
Trump’s lawyers said on Thursday that the issue involved all future White House occupants, repeating arguments they made before lower courts.
Former presidents have a “clear right” to keep their confidential documents from being released prematurely, according to Trump’s attorneys.
“Congress cannot go on rambling fishing expeditions in the hopes of shaming President Trump or exposing the President’s and his staff’s sensitive and privileged conversations ‘for the sake of exposure,'” they said.
The data are crucial to the House committee’s probe into the lead-up to the violent insurgency aimed at altering the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to the committee. Trump propagated unsubstantiated claims about election fraud before and after the riot, claiming that the “true insurgency” occurred on Contest Day, when he lost to Biden in an election that was recognized as fair by authorities from both parties.
The issue was largely expected to go to the Supreme Court, which has previously ruled on Trump’s records in other cases. Three of the court’s nine justices were appointed by Trump.
Earlier this year, a New York judge declined to prevent his tax documents from being turned over to a prosecutor’s office as part of an inquiry. It did prohibit Congress from getting banking and financial data for Trump and members of his family last year, while he was in office.