Supreme Court Ends Trump's Legal Fight Over Jan. 6 Records

Top court declines to review lower court's decision on records from his presidency
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2022 6:20 PM CST
Updated Feb 22, 2022 8:10 PM CST
Trump Loses Bid to Keep Records From House Panel
The US Supreme Court has rejected Trump's request to review a lower court's decision on records from his presidency.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

(Newser) Update: The Supreme Court has formally rejected Donald Trump's attempt to block the House committee investigating the Capitol riot from receiving records from his presidency. The court declined to review a lower court's decision on the records Tuesday, allowing it to stand and bringing Trump's legal battle over the records to an end, reports Reuters. CNN explains the documents Trump wanted withheld are already in the House Select Committee's possession: Last month, the committee received records from the National Archives and Records Administration after the top court declined Trump's emergency request to block the transfer as it considered whether to hear the case. Our original story from Jan. 19 follows:

Former President Donald Trump is out of appeals in his effort to keep White House records from his presidency from being turned over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The Supreme Court dispensed with Trump's argument that executive privilege protects the confidentiality of the records with an unsigned, one-paragraph order on Wednesday, the Hill reports. The decision means a ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which the Supreme Court says "analyzed and rejected President Trump's privilege claims ‘under any of the tests [he] advocated,'" will stand.

Because of that, the Supreme Court said it didn't decide the question of whether former presidents can invoke privilege. "Because the Court of Appeals concluded that President Trump's claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former President necessarily made no difference to the court's decision,” the court wrote. Only Justice Clarence Thomas indicated he'd have granted Trump's request, but he didn't say why. Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted with the majority but wrote that he disagreed with part of the lower court's opinion, per CNBC, saying a former president should be able to prevail when exerting executive privilege though the right isn't absolute.

President Biden had declined to claim executive privilege on Trump's behalf, and the administration supports the release of the documents. The National Archives is now clear to send more than 700 pages of Trump records to the House committee. The files include activity logs, schedules, and notes by Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, per CNN. Trump's aides did not immediately issue a comment on the decision. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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