One of the most incredibly sad aspects of Donald Trump’s ongoing attempt to prevent Congress from obtaining records detailing exactly what he was doing before, during, and after the January 6 Capitol attack is his insistence that he is entitled to “executive privilege” over the documentation, despite the fact that he is no longer the president of the United States, a fact that various officials have tried to get through his incredibly thick skull to no avail.
It’s also one of the most comical.
That he claims his struggle to keep the records from being released is totally selfless, and that he is fighting not for himself but to safeguard future presidents, knowing he’s a proud narcissist, is clearly a ridiculous assertion.
The ex-attorneys president’s claimed in court on Tuesday that enabling the House select committee examining the insurgency to find out precisely what Trump did and who he talked to when the Capitol was being trashed would result in Congress going after presidents from now on.
“In these hyperpartisan times, Congress will increasingly and inevitably use this new weapon to perpetually harass its political rival,” Trump lawyers Jesse Binnall and Justin Clark wrote in a brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The attorneys went on to say that, in the future, Congress will look for reasons, such as the January assault on democracy, to dig into White House records. “Every Congress will point to some unprecedented thing about ‘this President’ to justify a request for his presidential records,” they said.
This, of course, is a ridiculous situation to be in for a variety of reasons, one of which being that Trump has never behaved solely in his own self-interest in his 75 years on Earth and is unlikely to start now.
Another common misconception is that Congress is merely operating on party lines here, rather than seeking to examine one of America’s greatest criminal tragedies.
Then there’s the notion that Trump really cares about the sanctity of the presidency. Yes, Trump, the man who treated the presidency with complete disregard on a daily basis from 2017 to 2021, is watching out for future officeholders and urgently wants to guarantee that no one gets the notion of abusing their authority.
It’s a ridiculous argument that contradicts everything we know about him.
The documents that Trump and his White House officials most want to keep hidden from the House select committee are revealed in court records.
According to USA Today, Trump has claimed executive privilege over 39 pages of the 136 pages of documents set to be released Friday by the National Archives and Records Administration, which include handwritten notes about Jan. 6, appointments for White House visitors, and switchboard logs that show calls between Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
“These records all relate to the events on or about January 6, and may assist the Select Committee’s investigation into that day, including what was occurring at the White House immediately before, during and after the January 6 attack,” wrote Justice Department lawyers in a court filing for the National Archives and archivist David Ferriero.
Although the former president’s filings reveal the contours of what congressional investigators want to see, a federal appeals court temporarily delayed the release of those documents to allow Trump’s challenge to play out, and oral arguments are set for Nov. 30, the former president’s filings reveal the contours of what congressional investigators want to see.
“Of the 763 pages in which Trump asserted privilege, 629 are talking points prepared for the press secretary and 43 include presidential schedules, appointments, activity logs, call logs, among other documents, according to the filing from the National Archives,” USA Today reported. “The National Archives identified nearly 1,600 pages of records that fit the committee’s request, with thousands more yet to be reviewed, according to the agency. Trump sought to keep nearly half the pages confidential, but the Justice Department replied that they are crucial to the investigation.”
The committee has requested any information relating to Jan. 6 and coordinated efforts to postpone the certification of the electoral vote, including calendar entries, films, and photographs, and the requests encompass Trump’s public pronouncements about the 2020 election and its validity.
The records will be released in four batches, the first of which will be released at the end of last week, the second and third batches on Nov. 26, and the fourth batch is currently being reviewed.
Daily presidential diaries, schedules, activity logs, and first drafts of speeches are among the first batch of documents, while the second batch includes talking points and other documents from the White House press secretary, and a “much smaller” tranche contains handwritten notes, a draft of a speech for the “Save America March,” and a draft of an executive order concerning election integrity.
A draft proclamation honoring Capitol police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, who died in the attack, and communication from outside the White House about a possible lawsuit by the US against numerous states won by Joe Biden are among the third batch of documents.