US Supreme Court rejects Donald Trump bid to block Capitol attack document release

Supporters of Mr Trump stormed the Capitol in a failed bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying Joe Biden's 2020 presidential election victory.

Supporters of Donald Trump climbing the west wall of the the US Capitol in Washington during the riot

Supporters of former president Donald Trump climbing the west wall of the US Capitol in Washington during the 6 January riot. Source: AP

A bid by former president Donald Trump to block the release to a congressional committee of documents related to the 6 January attack on the US Capitol has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

Mr Trump, citing executive privilege, had sought to prevent the documents held by the National Archives from being given to the committee investigating the assault on Congress by Trump supporters.

The former president, who has been accused of instigating the assault on the Capitol, had asked the nation's highest court to stay a ruling this month by a federal appeals court which rejected his attempt to keep the documents and records secret.

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But the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 vote, refused to issue a stay and upheld the appeals court ruling.



Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, was the only justice in favour of issuing a stay.

Mr Trump had sought to exercise his privilege as a former president to keep White House records and communications that might relate to the attack under wraps.

The House committee has said it needs the records to understand any role Trump may have played in fomenting the violence that unfolded on 6 January, 2021.

His supporters stormed the Capitol in a failed bid to prevent Congress from formally certifying Mr Biden's 2020 presidential election victory over Mr Trump.

The committee has asked the National Archives, which holds Trump's White House records, to produce visitor logs, phone records and written communications between his advisers.

Richard Barnett sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a riot at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 6 January.
Richard Barnett sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a riot at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 6 January. Source: AFP


Mr Biden, who took office two weeks after the riot, has determined that the records, which belong to the executive branch, should not be subject to executive privilege and that turning them over to Congress was in the best interests of the nation.

Mr Trump has argued that he can invoke executive privilege based on the fact he was president at the time even though he is no longer in office.

Shortly before the riot, Mr Trump repeated to a crowd of his supporters his lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud, telling them to go to the Capitol and "fight like hell" to "stop the steal".

Former US president Donald Trump
Former US president Donald Trump Source: SBS


Any delay by the Supreme Court in allowing the disclosure of the records could have imperilled the panel's chances of obtaining them.

The committee aims to finish its work before the November congressional elections in which Mr Trump's fellow Republicans are seeking to regain House control.

Republicans opposed the panel's creation and could shut down the inquiry if they win a majority in the chamber.


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3 min read
Published 20 January 2022 at 11:16am
Source: AAP,AFP,SBS

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