“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.”
“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” https://t.co/60axuC6XBl
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) November 10, 2021
Trump White House records can be turned over to House Jan. 6 (Washington Post)
A federal judge in Washington ruled late Tuesday that hundreds of pages of Trump White House records can be turned over to a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol despite the former president’s objections.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan clears the way for the release of government records requested by Congress beginning Friday. Attorneys for former president Donald Trump immediately appealed and moved to bar release of the documents by the National Archives pending a ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The House panel and the Justice Department “contend that discovering and coming to terms with the causes underlying the January 6 attack is a matter of unsurpassed public importance because such information relates to our core democratic institutions and the public’s confidence in them,” Chutkan wrote in a 39-page opinion. “The court agrees.”
“Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” Chutkan said, echoing language used by fellow jurist Ketanji B. Jackson in 2019 in rejecting Trump’s request to toss out a congressional subpoena seeking testimony by his White House counsel Donald McGahn.
Speaking of having a sound legal footing before going after Steve Bannon and others who would defy Congress, it is at least possible that Garland & Co. will be influenced by the decision Judge Tanya Chutkan handed down on Tuesday night, in which she flatly rejected Donald Trump’s claims that his executive privilege extends beyond his term in office. “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” wrote the Judge. Ouch, that smarts.
The Judge did give Trump a small victory, finding that certain personal communications are beyond Congress’ purview, and need not be turned over to the 1/6 Committee. That’s pretty hollow, though, and is not really what the former president cares about. So, he promptly appealed the ruling, in hopes that he will eventually find a judge willing to completely set aside past precedent when it comes to executive privilege.
Meanwhile, NARA has already said it will hand the requested records over to the Committee on Friday morning unless instructed not to by a court. So, beyond trying to revive the underlying case, Trump has about 48 hours to find a judge who will give him an injunction (24 of which are a national holiday), otherwise the whole thing is largely moot because the Committee will already have the documents it wants.
The ruling also kicks the legs out of Bannon’s stated reason for defying the subpoena, namely that he’s protected by Trump’s executive privilege. So again, this could be what the DoJ needs in order to start moving forward.