WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump turned to the Supreme Court Thursday in a last-ditch effort to keep documents away from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol led by his supporters.
Trump’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court to reverse lower court rulings against the former president, who has fought to block the records even after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege over them. The federal appeals court in Washington previously ruled the committee had a “uniquely vital interest” in the documents and Trump had “provided no basis” for it to override Biden and Congress.
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,” according to a previous court filing from the National Archives.
Repeating arguments they made before lower courts, Trump’s attorneys wrote Thursday that the case concerned all future occupants of the White House. Their filing came on the day that an administrative injunction issued by the appeals court was set to expire.
Former presidents had “a clear right to protect their confidential records from premature dissemination,” Trump’s lawyers said.
“Congress cannot engage in meandering fishing expeditions in the hopes of embarrassing President Trump or exposing the President’s and his staff’s sensitive and privileged communications ‘for the sake of exposure,’ ” they added.
The House committee has said the records are vital to its investigation into the run-up to the deadly insurrection aimed at overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election. Before and after the riot, Trump promoted false theories about election fraud and suggested that the “real insurrection” was on Election Day, when he lost to Biden in an election certified by officials from both parties as fair.
The high-stakes case was widely expected to reach the Supreme Court, which has decided several previous fights over Trump’s records. Trump appointed three of the court’s nine justices.
The court earlier this year refused to stop his tax records from going to a New York prosecutor’s office as part of an investigation. It did prevent Congress last year, while Trump was in office, from obtaining banking and financial records for him and members of his family.
Panel wants to speak with Jordan
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection on Wednesday requested an interview with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, as the committee closes in on members of its own chamber.
In a letter to Jordan, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, said the panel wants the lawmaker to provide information for its investigation surrounding his communications with Trump on Jan. 6 and Trump’s efforts to challenge the result of the 2020 election.
“We understand that you had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on January 6th,” the letter reads. “We would like to discuss each such communication with you in detail.”
The request is the second by the nine-member panel this week and launches a new phase for the lawmakers on the committee, who have so far resisted going after one of their own as they investigate the insurrection by supporters and his efforts to overturn the election.
Jordan is a staunch supporter of the former president’s false claims about voter fraud. The lawmaker brought those claims up during an October hearing on a motion to hold former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena.
In that hearing, Jordan admitted once again that he spoke with Trump on the day of the attack.
“Of course, I talked to the president,” Jordan told members of the Rules Committee, in response to questioning from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “I talked to him that day. I’ve been clear about that. I don’t recall the number of times, but it’s not about me. I know you want to make it about that.”
A request for comment from Jordan’s office was not immediately returned.
The panel is also seeking information regarding Jordan’s meeting with Trump and members of his administration in November and December 2020, and in early January 2021, “about strategies for overturning the results of the 2020 election.” The letter goes on to say the committee is also interested in any discussions Jordan may have had during that time regarding the possibility of presidential pardons for people involved in any aspect of the Capitol attack or the planning for the two rallies that took place that day.
Thompson writes that Jordan has already publicly signaled a willingness to cooperate with the panel’s efforts to get answers about Jan. 6, citing the lawmaker’s quote from that October hearing: “I’ve said all along, I have nothing to hide. I’ve been straightforward all along.”
On Monday, the committee sent a similar request to Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who the panel believes had “an important role” in efforts to install then-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general in late 2020.
Perry rejected the committee’s request Tuesday, calling the committee and its investigation “illegitimate.”
In response, Tim Mulvey, a committee spokesperson, said that while the panel prefers to gather evidence from members “cooperatively,” it will pursue such information “using other tools” if necessary.
The panel has already interviewed about 300 people as it seeks to create a comprehensive record of the Jan. 6 attack and the events leading up to it.
Trump at the time was pushing false claims of widespread voter fraud and lobbying Vice President Mike Pence and Republican members of Congress to try to overturn the count at the Jan. 6 congressional certification. Election officials across the country, along with the courts, had repeatedly dismissed Trump’s claims.