SCOTUS Denies Trump Bid To Block Jan. 6 Records In 8-1 Ruling

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: An image of President Donald Trump appears on video screens before his speech to supporters from the Ellipse at the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress pre... UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: An image of President Donald Trump appears on video screens before his speech to supporters from the Ellipse at the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress prepares to certify the electoral college votes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS

The Supreme Court refused a request on Wednesday from former President Trump to block a Jan. 6 Committee subpoena for records about the Capitol insurrection.

It was a 8 – 1 ruling, with Justice Clarence Thomas the only dissenter.

The ruling allows the panel to receive records it requested in October from the National Archives. The records stretch hundreds of pages, and include notes taken by White House staff during the Jan. 6 attack.

“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 brief opinion reads.

Trump had argued that, as a former President, he could assert executive privilege over records created during his time in office. President Biden had already decided not to exercise privilege over the records the committee requested.

The court went out of its way to avoid addressing that issue, which raised a morass of questions that drove at the heart of accountability for former presidents. The court found that, because the appellate judges ruled on the case without addressing the issue of Trump’s status as a former president, it did not have to get into the question either.

“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 ruling reads.

In a statement, Justice Kavanaugh said that had the court faced Trump’s executive privilege issue, he would have voted to extend that authority to Trump. Justice Thomas did not explain his dissent.

Kavanaugh’s view, if put into practice, would go a long way towards ending accountability for former presidents, effectively allowing them to shield records from investigations examining alleged wrongdoing during their time in office.

The records that will now be available to the panel include White House call logs from Jan. 6 and drafts of speeches that Trump was scheduled to give that day, as well as, the DOJ said in a filing in the case, “a handwritten list of potential or scheduled briefings and telephone calls concerning election issues,” “a draft Executive Order concerning election integrity” and “a draft proclamation honoring deceased Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood.”

The records purportedly come from Trump administration officials that include Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin, and adviser Stephen Miller.

Read the ruling here:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: