Lawyers for former President Donald Trump will try to persuade a federal appeals court to block Congress from receiving call logs, drafts of speeches and other material related to the Jan. 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill American led by his supporters.
The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals for the United States will hear arguments on Tuesday from lawyers for Trump and the House committee seeking the records as part of its investigation into the riot.
Trump’s lawyers want the court to overturn a federal judge’s decision allowing the National Archives and Records Administration to release the documents after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege. Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s claims that he could exercise executive privilege beyond Biden, noting in part: “Presidents are not kings and the claimant is not president.” The appeals court issued an administrative stay after Chutkan’s decision to reconsider the case.
Democratic presidents have named the three judges who will hear arguments on Tuesday. Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins were nominated by President Barack Obama, and Ketanji Brown Jackson is nominated by Biden.
Given the stakes of the case, each party is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In their appeal to the circuit court, Trump’s lawyers said they agreed with Chutkan that presidents are not kings. “This is true, but in the same vein, Congress is not Parliament – a legislative body with supreme constitutional power and unchecked over the operations of government,” they wrote.
Trump has argued that the tapes of his Jan. 6 deliberations must be withheld to protect the executive privilege of future presidents and that the Democratic-led House is primarily politically motivated. Lawyers on the House committee rejected these arguments and called Trump’s attempts to assert executive privilege “unprecedented and deeply flawed.”
“It is difficult to imagine a more critical subject for Congressional investigation, and Mr. Trump’s arguments cannot overcome the pressing need of Congress,” counsel for the committee said.