In a rebuff to former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court is allowing the release of presidential documents sought by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The justices on Wednesday rejected a bid by Trump to withhold the documents from the committee until the issue is finally resolved by the courts. Trump’s lawyers had hoped to prolong the court fight and keep the documents on hold.
Following the high court’s action, there is no legal impediment to turning over the documents, which are held by the National Archives and Records Administration. They include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritten notes dealing with Jan. 6 from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Alone among the justices, Clarence Thomas said he would have granted Trump’s request to keep the documents on hold.
Trump’s attorneys had asked the high court to reverse rulings by the federal appeals court in Washington and block the release of the records even after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege over them.
In an unsigned opinion, the court acknowledged there are “serious and substantial concerns” over whether a former president can win a court order to prevent disclosure of certain records from his time in office in a situation like this one.
But the court noted that the appeals court determined that Trump’s assertion of privilege over the documents would fail under any circumstances, “even if he were the incumbent.”
Trump spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.