President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
Leah Millis | Reuters
The Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon rejected a request by former President Donald Trump to block the sending of White House records to a House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
Trump had lost efforts in two lower federal courts to block the panel from obtaining more than 700 pages of records.
He had unsuccessfully argued in those courts that he had the authority as a former president to invoke executive privilege to prevent disclosure of the records. President Joe Biden had refused to invoke executive privilege for the records.
In its decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that “questions about whether and under what circumstances a former president can obtain an injunction preventing the release of privileged records of his or her term in office, versus a determination by the incumbent president of relinquish the privilege, are unprecedented and raise serious and substantial concerns.”
But the court noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit “had no opportunity to decide these issues because it reviewed and rejected President Trump’s claims of privilege ‘on any of the evidence. [he] defended”.
“Because the Court of Appeals concluded that President Trump’s claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former president did not necessarily make any difference to the court’s decision,” the Supreme Court said.
Of the nine Supreme Court justices, only Justice Clarence Thomas reportedly granted Trump’s request for an injunction blocking the release of the records to the select committee.
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