Court Battles

Trump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee ‘will not be harmed by delay’

Former President Trump’s lawyers told the Supreme Court that the House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack would suffer no harm if the justices delayed the transfer of Trump administration records to congressional investigators.

The bold assertion came amid an ongoing legal clash between Trump and the House panel over whether a trove of records that investigators say would shed light on the deadly Capitol riot is covered by the former president’s assertion of executive privilege.

Trump’s attorneys, in their latest filing, pushed back on the committee’s claim that a protracted legal fight threatens to undermine its work.

“Respondents will not be harmed by delay,” Trump attorneys wrote, referring 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.” 

“The Committee and the Court have time to make a swift but measured analysis of these important issues and make sure that in the rush to conduct its investigation, the Committee does not do irreparable structural damage in the process,” they added.

The Jan. 6 committee has not established a hard deadline for completing its investigation, but its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), has said the panel hopes to wrap up by early spring.

Trump turned to the Supreme Court last month after lower federal courts in Washington, D.C., rejected his request to halt the National Archives from passing along the records. His attorneys have asked the justices to shield the disputed materials from disclosure while they consider his formal appeal.

In the lower federal courts, judges made quick work in rebuffing Trump’s claims. They zeroed in on President Biden’s refusal to invoke executive privilege over Trump-era schedules, call logs, emails and other requested documents. Biden declined to do so after determining that the House panel’s needs for the records exceeded any benefit of keeping them under wraps.

The House panel, for its part, has emphasized the importance of a prompt resolution in the case.

“The Select Committee’s work is of the highest importance and urgency: investigating one of the darkest episodes in our nation’s history, a deadly assault on the United States Capitol and Congress, and an unprecedented disruption of the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next,” they told the justices last month.

The prospect of a drawn-out Trump court fight has prompted comparisons to the drain-the-clock litigation strategy he wielded as president, where delay tactics were deployed to stymie lawsuits, hamper investigators and fend off subpoenas, with numerous cases against Trump and his administration still hanging in the balance as he left the White House.

Tags Bennie Thompson Capitol riot Donald Trump Jan. 6 panel Joe Biden Supreme Court

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