Wednesday’s blow – another case where the courts have rebuked Donald Trump’s attempts to use them for his own political gain – will allow the committee to go even deeper into its West Wing and understand what was going on before and during his crowd. attack on the United States Capitol. It will also likely be seen by the former president as a betrayal by the court’s conservative majority, which he cemented with three choices for the upper bench which he viewed as a legal insurance policy as he continually sought to bend governing institutions to avoid accountability.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, and Vice Chairman Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, hailed the court’s decision as a “victory for the rule of law and American democracy” and vowed to discover all the facts about the violence of January 6 and its causes.
Another committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that the Supreme Court’s decision was “a really big deal in getting the truth out.”
“We’re going to get those documents and we’re going to go through them and help piece together that picture,” the California Democrat said.
The case unfolded after President Joe Biden refused to support Trump’s attempt to block the release of the documents, arguing that the attack on the Capitol was such an affront to the Constitution that it should be done. subject of an investigation. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the key legal question of what happens when there is a dispute between a current president and a former president over the scope of executive privilege – a concept intended to ensure that advice given to a commander-in-chief by subordinates may remain private. But it allowed upholding an appeals court ruling that found Trump had failed to demonstrate that his concerns about executive confidentiality should outweigh the “deep interests in disclosure” cited by Biden. .
Trump’s lawyers had asked the Supreme Court for a full review of the case, citing important questions of privilege that will reverberate through history. But the committee made a request for an expedited review just before Christmas, citing the urgency of its investigation. The ruling closes one avenue of Trump’s legal strategy: missing investigative time before November’s midterm elections and a possible GOP takeover of the House.
The net is tightening around Trump West Wing
The Supreme Court’s decision will play into an intense debate over efforts by former Trump aides to assert executive privilege to avoid testifying before the committee. Some of these claims are particularly unusual and, according to many legal experts, frivolous because they cover conversations between officials and outsiders, rather than the then president.
Wednesday’s decision, in which only conservative Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, will also offer a new brand of legitimacy to the select committee, amid claims by pro-Trump Republicans that it is a witch hunt. illegally constituted despite being passed by the House. It will also spur the committee’s race against time as it attempts to complete its work before a possible new Republican majority shuts it down.
The net has tightened considerably around Trump’s White House in recent weeks.
But even if Wednesday’s ruling helps the committee paint an even bleaker picture of Trump’s culpability in the riot and his behavior on Jan. 6, it seems unlikely to significantly reshape the strained politics of the ‘insurrection. Whole sections of the Republican Party, particularly in the House, did their best to whitewash Trump’s role that day as he considered a possible return to the presidency in 2024. Millions of Trump supporters are convinced by its false allegations of voter fraud and its argument that the real insurrection took place during the November 2020 election, rather than January 6, 2021.
A blow to Trump’s perverse sense of loyalty
There’s no doubt, however, that Trump will be apoplectic that his three Supreme Court nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, haven’t publicly dissuaded him from refusing his attempt to keep his files secret. west wing. Trump has repeatedly criticized the Supreme Court for rejecting his bogus claims of voter fraud, saying he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice, even though his delusional cases were also thrown out by several lower courts. Even before the 2020 election, the then-president said it was important to quickly confirm Barrett so she could be in place to vote on any election disputes.
The former president has denied any wrongdoing and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement that “the allegations are without merit and will be vigorously defended.”
The clouds gathering around Trump would pose a serious legal and reputational risk to a normal politician, but given his knack for impunity, it is far from certain that they will dampen his political aspirations.
CNN’s Vogue’s Ariane, Katelyn Polantz, Jeremy Herb and Tierney Sneed contributed to this story.