A federal court order late Tuesday may be a bad sign for former Donald Trump in his effort to assert executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia notified lawyers for Trump, the House Select Committee, and the National Archives that they should “be prepared” to address whether the court even has the legal authority to hear the dispute. Oral arguments are scheduled for November 30th. The Select Committee investigating the riot has asked the National Archives to turn over scores of Trump administration documents including memos, emails, records of White House conversations, and visitor logs as it investigates the origins of the attack.
The House panel is seeking Trump’s records from the Archives because the agency maintains all documents from past administrations. Trump claimed executive privilege over some of the material, but President Joe Biden said the records should be released to Congress, citing the importance of the bipartisan committee’s work.
Each one of the individuals who were subpoenaed yesterday had a role in raising money for or planning events that led up to the violent attack on the Capitol.
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) November 23, 2021
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered the Archives to hand over the material, but the Appeals Court granted a brief stay to take a longer look at the issue. However, late Tuesday, the appeals court ordered the lawyers in the case to be prepared to address the jurisdiction issue. The fact that the court is wondering about its own authority to take up the case is telling: Courts are typically protective of their jurisdictions.
.@RepZoeLofgren on latest Jan. 6 subpoenas: "It is a felony to lie to Congress, and I don't think they want to do that. They spin tales, we know that, but this is an obligation to come in and tell the truth. You don't lie to Congress." https://t.co/zP4Cz53HFr pic.twitter.com/OvLswW7gvD
— The Hill (@thehill) November 23, 2021
Trump’s lawyers argued that the congressional committee had no proper legislative purpose for seeking his White House records and that it instead launched the investigation to “intimidate and harass” Trump and his closest advisors “under the guise of investigating the events of January 6, 2021.”
*NEW* VIDEO: #ShockingUnansweredJan6Questions
19 shocking questions Republicans don't want answered about January 6.
Please retweet and quote retweet widely! pic.twitter.com/SvB1XpbV7Z
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) November 23, 2021
But the Select Committee responded by saying in its court filings that it needs the records “to complete a thorough investigation into how the actions of the former President, his advisers, and other government officials may have contributed to the attack on Congress to impede the peaceful transfer of Presidential power.”