Washington, Dec 23 (EFE).- Former President Donald Trump on Thursday filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court asking to keep hidden some 700 documents pertaining to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, an attack in which five people died.
Trump wants to prevent the US National Archives, which has custody of the documents, from handing them over to the House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the insurrection and attack on the Capitol by an angry Trump-supporting mob.
The precise contents of those documents is not publicly known, but allegedly they include emails, speech drafts and lists of visits and meetings that could reveal exactly what happened inside the White House during the Capitol assault and on the days surrounding that incident.
In the appeal, Trump’s attorneys claimed that their client is not just any citizen and that, as a former president, he enjoys special rights of “executive privilege,” meaning – they say – that certain information and documents from his presidency may not be released without his permission.
Trump, however, is no longer president, and up to now all judges hearing the case have ruled that he no longer enjoys any right to “executive privilege” whereby he would be able to keep secret documents pertaining to matters that transpired during his presidency.
Trump’s legal team asserts in their court filing that the House Select Committee’s request is “exceedingly broad” and an “unprecedented encroachment on executive privilege,” adding that Trump will suffer “irreparable harm” if the documents are released.
The case dates back to early October, when President Joe Biden authorized the National Archives to turn over the documents to the committee investigating the Capitol attack.
A few days thereafter, on Oct. 18, Trump filed a suit in a Washington DC federal court trying to block the documents’ release, but in November a judge in that court denied his claim.
Trump’s legal team appealed that ruling and turned to the District of Columbia appeals court, which also threw out the ex-president’s suit, and now the team has turned to the US high court as its last option.
The Supreme Court is made up of nine justices, of whom six are considered conservative and three are liberal. In addition, Trump himself named three of the current justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
The committee demanding the documents was created by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and includes a majority of Democratic congresspeople but also two Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinsinger – who are at odds with Trump on many issues.
The committee’s mission is to investigate why the Capitol attack occurred, who was responsible for it and what can be done to prevent another similar incident in the future.
With that task before them, the committee has requested access to documents that have been kept secret up to now, including Trump’s 700 documents, and has called former members of his administration to testify before them, including controversial ideologue and former White House adviser Steve Bannon, who refused to testify and has been accused of criminal contempt of Congress.
On Jan. 6, some 10,000 people – most of them Trump supporters who had been fired up by the then-president himself and other speakers – marched to the Capitol and some 800 broke into the building to try and halt the certification of the November 2020 presidential election in which Biden defeated Trump.
Five people died and about 140 security agents were injured during the assault.