A lawyer for Donald Trump on Thursday asked a federal judge to block the release of thousands of documents related to the former president’s actions in the January 6 siege of Capitol to Congress, but the magistrate did not convince her of the allegations.
The Republican billionaire wants to keep the documents secret, including lists of people who visited or called him that day, according to a parliamentary commission in the hands of Democrats.
This “special committee” of the House of Representatives was set up to assess the role played by Donald Trump in the attack led by his supporters on the Congress seat, when elected officials confirmed the victory of Joe Biden in the presidential election.
Donald Trump, who has denied any responsibility for the attack, denounced it as a “political game” and refused to cooperate. Despite the summons issued by Congress, he went to court in the name of the exclusive right of the executive to keep his exchange of information confidential.
“Former presidents have the right to exercise this privilege,” his lawyer Justin Clark argued Thursday at a trial in Washington.
But Judge Tanya Chutkan responded that “the executive ‘privilege is the best person to determine whether it is in the executive branch”, recalling that the White House’s current tenant, Joe Biden, authorized the National Archives to provide these documents to Congress.
“We’re not talking about bank statements or accounting records before your client became president (…), but we’re talking about his exchanges when people broke windows and entered the capital,” she said, referring to previous legal battles.
“We are, in essence, talking about documents related to the exercise of power,” Judge Chutkan said.
However, she granted the lawyer a discount on the number of documents requested: “I agree with you (…) that some of the requests are very vague, but others are very specific to the events of January 6th.”
At the end of the trial, the judge promised to deliver her decision “quickly”.