Trump Says Jan. 6 Committee's Pursuit of White House Docs Could Permanently Damage Presidency
Earlier this month, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol was within legal bounds to request White House records that former US President Donald Trump claims are subject to executive privilege. US President Joe Biden has refused to uphold the privilege.
Attorneys for the 45th US president argued in a Wednesday reply brief that the House Select Committee is engaging in actions that could cause irreparable harm to the office.
"The [House Select Committee's] clear disdain for President Trump is leading them to a course of action that will result in permanent damage to the institution of the presidency," Trump's legal team wrote in a brief filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
"In reality, their success would gut the protections afforded presidential communications of any just and uniform standard," the lawyers wrote.
According to the attorneys, this could cause lasting damage to the presidency and lead to a political tradition of legal revenge.
"An incumbent president would always be able to condemn the actions of a former president from a rival party and permit confidentiality to be broken to further political ends," they wrote.
Trump is appealing a previous ruling by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who said that the former president must turn over the requested documents, which include over 700 pages of visitor logs, speech drafts, White House call logs, and other records.
Chutkan emphasized in her decision that "presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president."
10 November 2021, 08:04 GMT
The DC court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the release of the documents on Tuesday, November 30.
Trump's filing comes days after the House Select Committee told the court that it urgently needed the former US president's White House records, noting that "delay itself would inflict constitutional injury on the Select Committee by interfering with its legislative duty."
The panel's lawyers argued that the documents could assist investigators and inform possible decisions about which witnesses to depose, the relevant questions to ask, and whether additional subpoenas should be issued.
Earlier this week, the House Select Committee announced the issuance of subpoenas for former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The group said it was specifically seeking information regarding rallies - like Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally - and the subsequent attack on the US Capitol. Subpoenas were also issued for former Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and Elmer Stuart Rhodes, president of the Oath Keepers. Both organizations are white nationalist groups.