Top US court rejects Trump bid to shield Capitol attack records

House committee is probing the attempt by Trump supporters to block certification of President Biden’s 2020 election win.

Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Violent protesters, loyal to former President Donald Trump, stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC [John Minchillo/AP Photo]

The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday formally ended former President Donald Trump’s bid to block the release to congressional investigators of White House records related to last year’s attack on the US Capitol.

The court’s decision, issued in an unsigned order that made no comment, followed its rejection last month of Trump’s emergency request to shield the documents held by the National Archives.

Trump, who has been accused of fomenting the deadly January 6 assault by a mob of his supporters, had asked the nation’s highest court to stay a ruling by a federal appeals court rejecting the petition.

But the Supreme Court refused in a decision issued on January 19, and Tuesday’s announcement marks the definitive end of the line for Trump’s legal fight.

“We expected this to happen after the Court voted 8-1 to deny Trump’s request to block documents while they considered his petition for review,” the public accountability watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in a statement.

“But even though it was expected, it’s still good to see it happen.”

The House select committee is scrutinising the attempt by hundreds of Trump supporters to block congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s November 2020 election victory by storming the Capitol.

The development will be seen as a victory for investigators looking into how the riot took place, and whether Trump and members of his circle had any part in encouraging it.

The ex-president had sought to exercise his privilege as a former president to keep under wraps White House records and communications that might relate to the attack.

In a filing with the Supreme Court, Trump’s lawyers had argued that “a former president has the right to assert executive privilege, even after his term of office”.

Biden waived executive privilege on the Trump records so they could be handed over to the committee and the appeals court decided that “the right of a former president certainly enjoys no greater weight than that of the incumbent”.

The appeals court said the public interest was greater than Trump’s own in relation to the records.

Source: AFP