The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against former President Donald Trump and refused to block the National Archives from sharing documents from his time in the White House with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The high court's decision came as a one-paragraph order and was unsigned. Justice Clarence Thomas, nominated by former President Ronald Reagan, was the lone justice signaling that he would have granted Trump's request, which is based on the argument that the records are protected by executive privilege. President Joe Biden has supported their release.
"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 necessarily made no difference to the court’s decision," the Supreme Court order said.
The decision is a rejection of Trump's pending appeal in the case aimed at keeping the documents sealed and means that more than 700 pages of documents pertaining to emails, call logs, and other information requests are subject to the House Jan. 6 Committee's review of the Capitol riot.
TRUMP ASKS SUPREME COURT TO BLOCK HIS HOUSE RECORDS FROM JAN. 6 COMMITTEE
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Trump, agreed with the majority ruling but wrote a series of separate paragraphs expressing disagreement with the U.S. Court of Appeals for siding with a lower court's ruling rejecting Trump's bid, filed in October, to keep presidential records away from the Jan. 6 committee. The appeals court held that Trump "has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden's judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents."
Kavanaugh wrote that he "respectfully" disagreed with the appeals court on its ruling. "A former president must be able to successfully invoke the Presidential communications privilege for communications that occurred during his Presidency even if the current President does not support the privilege claim," he said.
These are the documents the Supreme Court says the House Select Committee now can have access to. pic.twitter.com/bRu8HRyVRy— Katelyn Polantz (@kpolantz) January 20, 2022
The House panel investigating the riot has been adamant over the "importance and urgency" of resolving the legal dispute over the National Archives records, telling the Supreme Court last month that the documents were pertinent to investigating the "disruption of the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next."
The decision comes just hours after attorneys for the former president filed a brief to the Supreme Court claiming that the legal fight to conceal presidential records would not hinder its work investigating the Capitol riot.
“Respondents will not be harmed by delay,” Trump attorneys wrote in reference to the House panel. “Despite their insistence that the investigation is urgent, more than a year has passed since January 6, 2021. Years remain before the next transition of power.”
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The National Archives was expected to hand over the first several pages at 6 p.m. Wednesday if the Supreme Court did not move to block their release.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the truth, for the rule of law and for the American people. As the Courts have again and again affirmed, no one is above the law — not even a former president, who incited the January 6th insurrection," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Reviewing documents that former President Trump sought to hide from the American people is essential to understanding the events leading up to and during the deadly insurrection and its aftermath, and to ensuring it never happens again.”
The Washington Examiner contacted legal counsel for Trump but did not receive a response.