Storming the Capitol: Another damper for Trump in the dispute over files

Status: 10.12.2021 8:20 a.m.

In the protracted dispute over how to deal with the storm on the Capitol, ex-US President Trump experienced another defeat: an appeals court again rejected his request to withhold documents.

A U.S. appeals court has denied a motion by former President Donald Trump to withhold documents investigating the January 6th, US Capitol, by storm. There is a “clear legal need” for their submission to the relevant committee of inquiry in Congress, the judges’ panel found. “Former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to overturn President Biden’s judgment,” it said.

Joe Biden had previously ruled that the records owned by the executive branch should not come under executive privilege and that it was in the best interests of the nation to give them to Congress. Trump now has 14 days to file an urgent motion to the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling.

Understand Trump’s role

A committee in the House of Representatives is investigating the events of January 6th, when Trump’s supporters brutally attacked officials in front of and in the Congress seat, threw windows and interrupted the authentication of Biden’s election victory.

The committee had asked the National Archives, the US agency that keeps Trump’s files in the White House, to provide visitor logs, telephone logs and written communications between its advisors. The panel said it needed the documents to understand what role Trump could have played in fueling the violence.

Trump invokes executive privilege

The ex-president argued that the documents requested by the committee fall under the legal doctrine of executive privilege, which protects the confidentiality of certain White House communications. As the current incumbent, Biden disregarded this and allowed the documents to be handed over. Therefore, Trump sued the investigative committee and the national archives.

It is the second time that a federal court has ruled against Trump on this matter. US District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s arguments on November 9 on the grounds that he did not acknowledge that he owed Biden’s decision to respect: “Presidents are not kings and the plaintiff is not a president,” said Chutkan.

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