Judge Rejects Trump’s Bid to Keep Papers Secret in Jan. 6 Inquiry

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday night rejected a bid by former President Donald J. Trump to keep secret papers about his actions and conversations leading up to and during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. In a 39-page ruling , Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that Congress’s constitutional oversight powers to obtain the information prevailed over Mr. Trump’s residual secrecy powers — especially because the incumbent, President Biden, agreed that lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 riot should see the files. Mr. Trump “does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent president’s judgment. His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity,’” Judge Chutkan wrote. “But presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president.” Mr. Trump retained the right to assert that his records were privileged, she added, but Mr. Biden was not obliged to honor that assertion. The incumbent president, she said, is better situated to protect executive branch interests, and Mr. Trump “no longer remains subject to political checks against potential abuse of that power.” The ruling does not necessarily mean that the National Archives will turn over the materials to the House committee investigating Jan. 6 any time soon. The case raises novel issues about the scope and limits of a former president’s executive privilege authority, and it is likely that […]

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