Executive Power

District Court Rejects Trump's Executive Privilege Claim for January 6 Records (Updated)

In a well-reasoned opinion, the district court rejects the former President's efforts to prevent the release of information by the National Archives to the January 6 Committee.

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Yesterday, a federal district court in the District of Columbia rejected former President Donald Trump's attempt to prevent the National Archives from releasing information to the House Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Judge Tanya Chutkan's opinion in Trump v. Thompson nicely summarized the privilege claims and other arguments against disclosure, and why they should not prevail in this instance. An appeal is sure to follow quickly.

From Judge Chutkan's introduction:

On January 6, 2021, hundreds of rioters converged on the U.S. Capitol. They scaled walls, demolished barricades, and smashed windows in a violent attempt to gain control of the building and stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. This unprecedented attempt to prevent the lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next caused property damage, injuries, and death, and for the first time since the election of 1860, the transfer of executive power was distinctly not peaceful.

The question of how that day's events came about and who was responsible for them is not before the court. Instead, the present dispute involves purely legal questions that, though difficult and important to our government's functioning, are comparatively narrow in scope. Plaintiff—former President Donald J. Trump—challenges the legality of a U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee's requests for certain records maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration ("NARA") pursuant to the Presidential Records Act. Plaintiff argues that the Committee's requests are impermissible because at least some of the records sought are shielded by executive privilege and because the requests exceed Congress' constitutional power. He seeks an injunction prohibiting Defendants—the House Select Committee, the Chairman of the House Select Committee, NARA, and the Archivist of NARA—from enforcing or complying with the Committee's requests. For the reasons explained below, the court will deny Plaintiff's requested relief.

One of the primary issues presented in the case is the extent to which a former President may prevent the disclosure of Executive Branch materials when the current President does not believe such materials should be protected by privilege. From the opinion:

This case presents the first instance since enactment of the PRA in which a former President asserts executive privilege over records for which the sitting President has refused to assert executive privilege. Plaintiff argues that at least some of the requested records reflect his decision-making and deliberations, as well as the decision-making of executive officials generally, and that those records should remain confidential. Specifically, Plaintiff claims such records fall within two constitutionally recognized  categories of executive privilege—the presidential communications privilege and deliberative process privilege—and that he can prevent their disclosure. He argues that his power to do so extends beyond his tenure in Office, in perpetuity, and that his assertion of privilege is binding on the current executive branch. Plaintiff also argues that to the extent the PRA constrains his ability to assert executive privilege, the Act is unconstitutional. In the alternative, he contends that when a former President and current President disagree about whether to assert privilege, a court must examine each disputed document and decide whether it is privileged.

Defendants acknowledge that executive privilege may extend beyond a President's tenure in office, but they emphasize that the privilege exists to protect the executive branch, not an individual. Therefore, they argue, the incumbent President—not a former President—is best positioned to evaluate the long-term interests of the executive branch and to balance the benefits of disclosure against any effect on the on the ability of future executive branch advisors to provide full and frank advice. The court agrees. . . .

At bottom, this is a dispute between a former and incumbent President. And the Supreme Court has already made clear that in such circumstances, the incumbent's view is accorded greater weight. This principle is grounded in "the fact that the privilege is seen as inhering in the institution of the Presidency, and not in the President personally." Dellums, 561 F.2d at 247 n.14 (citing Nixon v. Adm'r of Gen. Servs., 408 F. Supp. 321, 343 (D.D.C. 1976), aff'd, 433 U.S. 425 (1977)). Only "the incumbent is charged with performance of the executive duty under the Constitution." Nixon v. GSA, 433 U.S. at 448. And it is the incumbent who is "in the best position to assess the present and future needs of the Executive Branch, and to support invocation of the privilege accordingly." Id. at 449.

Plaintiff does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent President's judgment. His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power "exists in perpetuity." Hearing Tr. at 19:21- 22. But Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President. He retains the right to assert that his records are privileged, but the incumbent President "is not constitutionally obliged to honor" that assertion. Public Citizen v. Burke, 843 F.2d 1473, 1479 (D.C. Cir. 1988). That is because Plaintiff is no longer situated to protect executive branch interests with "the information and attendant duty of executing the laws in the light of current facts and circumstances." Dellums, 561 F.2d at 247. And he no longer remains subject to political checks against potential abuse of that power. Nixon v. GSA, 433 U.S. at 448.

Moreover, contrary to Plaintiff's assertion that President Biden's decision not to invoke executive privilege is "unprecedented," Pl. Mot. at 2, history is replete with examples of past Presidents declining to assert the privilege. From President Nixon permitting the unrestricted congressional testimony of present and former White House staff members, to President Ronald Reagan's decision to authorize testimony and the production of documents related to the IranContra affair, including information about his communications and decision-making process, to President George W. Bush's  decision to sit for an interview with the 9/11 Commission to answer questions about his decision-making process in the wake of the attack, past Presidents have balanced the executive branch's interest in maintaining confidential communications against the public's interest in the requested information. The Supreme Court noted that this tradition of negotiation and compromise between the legislative and executive branches extends back to the administrations of Washington and Jefferson. See Mazars, 140 S. Ct. at 2029-31. President Biden's decision not to assert executive privilege because "Congress has a compelling need in service of its legislative functions to understand the circumstances" surrounding the events of January 6, see Pl. Mot., Exs. 4, 6, is consistent with historical practice and his constitutional power.

Judge Chutkan's reasoning is not-too-different from that in this statement on Trump's privilege claims released by members of Checks & Balances earlier this month. I signed this statement, as did my co-bloggers Ilya Somin and Keith Whittington, along with several former executive branch officials.

The court also considered, and rejected, Trump's challenge to the constitutionality of the Presidential Records Act and challenge to Congress's authority to seek these records under the Mazars decision. Of note, it is much more difficult for Trump to argue that Congress lacks a legitimate legislative purpose in obtaining information about executive branch actions than it was to argue that Congress had no such purpose in seeking Trump's personal, private financial records. (I discussed the Mazars decision in depth in this piece.)

As noted above, an appeal is sure to follow (if it has not been filed already). Fortunately, this case is moving along quickly.

UPDATE: Late Wednesday, Judge Chutkan also denied Trump's motion for a temporary injunction to stay her ruling pending appeal. This order was not a surprise. With this out of the way, it's on to the appeal. Meanwhile, the first batch of records is due to the House Committee on November 26.

NEXT: Nagging Ex About Supposed COVID Quarantine Obligations Isn’t a Crime

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  1. Tanya Chutkan is the judge who approves any and every flimsy execution stay request, just to get them all overruled by the SC. If this was a well-reasoned opinion, it was only by accident.

    1. Maybe you should investigate her birth certificate, clinger.

      1. The lawyers are not fit to represent Trump. They are weak and not zealous. They should have demanded the recusal of this biased, diverse, Democrat attack dog on the bench. They should appeal her barely literate opinion to the next court.

        1. The lawyers are not fit to represent Trump. They are weak and not zealous.”

          I take it you’d prefer them cut from the same cloth as Michael Cohen before he became a liability, or Trump’s mentor Roy Cohn?

    2. Can't hear you, Art. You'll have to whinge louder.

      1. I liked this decision. I also like the course of the American culture war, and the way continuing changes are putting right-wing bigots in their rightful, irrelevant place in modern America.

        I was noting that you are one of the obsolete, no-count bigots who will spend the rest of their days complying with the preferences of better people. And whining about it.

        I am content.

      2. Yeah, I don't know. There's a gray box over the place where your comment should be. Why don't you try it one more time, but use all caps or something.

        1. You are precisely the type of bigot this blog attracts -- can't stand your right-wing nonsense leavened by even a bit of reason, science, inclusiveness, or the reality-based world.

    3. Tanya Chutkan is the judge who approves any and every flimsy execution stay request,

      That seems rather implausible. There are only a handful of people on federal death row. How many such requests could there be?

      1. A quick search gives me at least 4 in the past year and a half.

        1. Add 4 more if you go back to Nov 2019.

          1. Sounds like something ripe for discussion at the next meeting of Libertarians For The Death Penalty (Especially Against Blacks).

            Which, of course, will be convened at this site.

          2. Same gray box, Art. Sorry I'm missing out on your insights.

            1. Clingers don't need to see my comments.

              But their betters will have the clingers' continuing compliance with liberal-libertarian preferences, which is what counts.

    4. Which of course its not. If by "well-reasoned" Adler means "not reasoned at all but its against Trump so who cares", then it is true.

  2. If republicans (were to control the house) and ask for Obama records concerning the Steele dossier, Clinton, the 2016 election etc how will this affect that request? Note that it is clear he was told about it 3 days before the investigation was launched. I'm not saying there is anything there - just asking does this will open up His records from that period.

    1. I think Republicans believe Hillary Clinton hatched the “dirty trick” to instigate the Russia Collusion investigation. Here is the problem with thinking it went all the up to Hillary—Comey is a Bush Republican that hates Hillary and so if she wins and she manipulated the FBI to investigate Trump then she knows Comey would come after her and undermine her presidency. For some reason Republicans can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that Comey and McCabe are fairly typical incompetent Bush Republicans.

      1. Comey is also probably personally responsible for Trump’s election by releasing that letter a week before, against the advice of the Attorney General. The idea that he’s a toady for Hillary is ridiculous.

        1. McCabe was fired for a leak—the leak was that the Clinton Foundation was under investigation and it would likely lead to an indictment and this appeared in the WSJ and Fox News within 2 weeks of Election Day!?! So Trump fired him for a leak that helped Trump and inexplicably Democrats defended McCabe!?! The FBI did a poor job all around and Hillary was apparently “ecstatic” when Comey was fired but she was advised to tone it down in public.

          1. That was a bullshit, trollish excuse Sessions used for firing McCabe two days before he retired because Don hated him.

            1. Better Americans solved that problem, restoring McCabe's benefits against the wishes of disgraced former President Trump and his collection of vestigial, bitter clingers.

            2. McCabe rushed to retire before he could be fired. He lost that race.

              1. McCabe won when better Americans replaced the Republican jerks and, as is often observed, corrected the situation.

            3. McCabe was fired because he repeatedly "disclosed to reporters" classified and LES information and was "less than truthful" and "lacked candor" during the IG investigation, "knowingly" providing "false information" to the IG on at least 4 different occasions, at least 2 them when he was explicitly under oath.

              ANYONE should be fired for that, no matter what their job in the government is. If the fucking JANITOR is doing that, it should be out the door.

              The real corruption is McCabe's political friends deliberately tanking the defense against is "wrong firing" lawsuit and giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  3. "and for the first time since the election of 1860, the transfer of executive power was distinctly not peaceful."

    I take it the riots at Trump's inauguration don't count, somehow?

    Trump inauguration: Violent protests in Washington DC "Violent protests broke out and a limo was set on fire in Washington DC as President Donald Trump was sworn in as president."

    Six cops were injured, and one put in the hospital by the 'mostly peaceful protests'.

    1. And remember the Brooks Brothers Riot instigated by Brett Kavanaugh when Bush stole the 2000 election?? And then when Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court was in peril Bush was the one that called Collins and urged her to support him.

      1. Dude, you need to go spend a little time meditating at your Bush demonic altar in your closet. Maybe stick a couple of pins in your W voodoo doll. You know how that calms you.

        1. You comment that means you exist—you’re a real boy!!

          1. But seriously, tell us where each member of the Bush family touched you.

            1. George Xi Bush flushed $5 trillion down a toilet in the Middle East while killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims…all to make China great again!!

    2. Those two events are not the same. Jan. 6 was an effort to storm the capitol and forcibly stop the election certification. The other were protests that got violent but no one stormed the inauguration to forcibly stop it.

      1. You are trying to reason with an autistic birther?

        1. Never never never never never never give up.

          1. You should continue to try to reason with them. I will continue to point out the ugliness, hypocrisy, and ignorance of their backward, bigoted thinking. Sounds like good complementary efforts.

    3. There is a big difference between protests that get out of hand and an attack on the US capital with an expressed intent on installing an unelected president. One directly is aimed at overturning an election and the other is not.

      1. " DisruptJ20 was publicly launched on November 11, 2016 with a YouTube video and social media accounts.[2] It and its aims were described in an interview with Legba Carrefour, "an organizer with DisruptJ20",[8][9][10] as an umbrella coalition of groups with a core of local organizers who have a lot of activist experience. Washington, D.C. organizers ... most of whom are anarchists. ... The idea ... is we want to undermine Trump's presidency from the get-go. There has been a lot of talk of peaceful transition of power as being a core element in a democracy and we want to reject that entirely and really undermine the peaceful transition"

        1. A YouTube account? What else did they do?

          1. No True Scotsman has a YouTube account, don't ya know.

          2. Nothing much...Rioting in the streets of DC with the express intent of stopping the inauguration....

            1. That's different because DC prosecutors dismissed all charges against the 2017 rioters and then the city paid them. This year, the DC government is keeping disorderly tourists jailed on fatuous pretexts and continuing to violate the constitutional rights of this year's political prisoners.

              1. The DC prosecutors brought a number of people to trial, and kept losing. It was only after that they dismissed charges against the others.

            2. I lived in DC, and there wasn't a riot, LOL.

                1. You have a pretty low threshold for what counts as a riot.

            3. Violent acts should be prosecuted. I suspect you're trying to exaggerate 2016 street protests while minimizing Jan. 6 so you can create a false equivalency of (a) Dems think 2016 is ok, so (b) Jan. 6 must also be OK. But I don't think 2016 was anywhere near as bad as Jan. 6, and Dems don't all think violence in the streets is OK.

              I'm fine with people protesting what they think is a bad election outcome, whether they're pro-Rep or pro-Dem. But we can't justify the violence, no matter who's in office. And public figures who encourage or justify violence need to be called out or, depending on their involvement, prosecuted. No matter which side.

            4. You do understand the difference between a ceremonial event--the public inauguration--easily performed in private and a necessary procedure to certifying the election of s president. A procedure which if successfully blocked results in follow-up procedures likely to yield a different outcome, the installation of an unelected president.

              1. I still don't think Congress has any constitutional power to decline electoral college votes. I think both things are ceremonial events.

    4. No. They don't, actually.

      Whatever some idiots did they did not try to physically stop the transfer, unlike your "over-enthusiastic tourists" or whatever BS description you have.

      Get over it, Brett. There was a violent attempt to prevent the EV's from being counted, and Trump stood by for several hours and let it go on, and then told the insurrectionists how wonderful they were.

      Your excuses are pathetic.

      1. "Get over it, Brett. "

        No! No! We want Brett to stay focused on this one. Otherwise, he could get back to his birther investigation and discover the real story of the Obama birth certificate, dooming Democrats in elections for decades to come.

      2. " DisruptJ20 was publicly launched on November 11, 2016 with a YouTube video and social media accounts.[2] It and its aims were described in an interview with Legba Carrefour, "an organizer with DisruptJ20",[8][9][10] as an umbrella coalition of groups with a core of local organizers who have a lot of activist experience. Washington, D.C. organizers ... most of whom are anarchists. ... The idea ... is we want to undermine Trump's presidency from the get-go. There has been a lot of talk of peaceful transition of power as being a core element in a democracy and we want to reject that entirely and really undermine the peaceful transition

      3. What "transfer", exactly, did the J6 riots attempts to stop?
        The Presidential inauguration - the transfer of the office of President - was still two weeks away.

        1. Yeah, I wonder what was going on in the Capitol at the time...

          1. Get back to us when you figure out the basic facts that are key to your hypothesis.

        2. "What "transfer", exactly, did the J6 riots attempts to stop?
          The Presidential inauguration - the transfer of the office of President - was still two weeks away."

          Get an education, bigot. Start with the American political system. Backwater religious schooling doesn't count.

    5. Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. There was no attempt to prevent the duly elected president from taking office in January of 2017. That is not true of the events of January 6, 2021, for which several hundred insurrectionists are now being prosecuted.

      1. The actual facts....

        "" DisruptJ20 was publicly launched on November 11, 2016 with a YouTube video and social media accounts.[2] It and its aims were described in an interview with Legba Carrefour, "an organizer with DisruptJ20",[8][9][10] as an umbrella coalition of groups with a core of local organizers who have a lot of activist experience. Washington, D.C. organizers ... most of whom are anarchists. ... The idea ... is we want to undermine Trump's presidency from the get-go. There has been a lot of talk of peaceful transition of power as being a core element in a democracy and we want to reject that entirely and really undermine the peaceful transition"

        1. Surely you can see the difference between trash talk and storming the Capitol to prevent electoral votes from being counted.

          Or then again, perhaps you can´t.

          1. He's just trolling.

          2. You mean rioting in the streets of Washington DC with the EXPRESS INTENT to disrupt the inauguration through violent measures?

            That's "trash talk"....then acting on it.

            In the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. "

            Facts are...there were riots to try to stop Trump from taking office.

            1. There was no riot, though.

              IIRC there was a vandalized car and a fire in a trash can.

              https://www.washingtonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/garbage-fire.jpg
              You don't get this if there's actually a riot going on.

              1. "Four businesses were vandalized and sustained "significant damage," he said. Also, demonstrators torched a limousine, police at the scene said.

                All of the 217 people arrested on Friday were charged with rioting, Newsham said. And in some cases cops used flash-bang grenades and pepper spray to keep them from getting closer to the parade route.

                Witnesses reported the demonstrators — some of them self-described "anarchists" dressed in black and wearing masks — were taunting police officers to try to get a rise out of them.

                Chris Cox, leader of Bikers for Trump, says bikers will provide black youths a "positive experience around a white male" #Inauguration pic.twitter.com/7fS5b3z601

                — Phil McCausland (@PhilMcCausland) January 20, 2017
                "I saw one guy, he was like pushing a cop, kind of antagonizing him, and the cop with the riot shield was banging him back," Johnny Silvercloud, a freelance journalist who was photographing protesters, told NBC News.

                One man was accidentally knocked over by protesters, a law enforcement officer told NBC News. He was bleeding from the back of his head as paramedics helped him onto a stretcher.

                Friday's violence came after a night of chaotic clashes between police and anti-Trump protesters. And it wasn't just limited to downtown D.C.

                https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/inauguration-2017/washington-faces-more-anti-trump-protests-after-day-rage-n709946

                1. You…think this helps your case that this was a riot? 4 buildings and mocking cops?

                  You think that is about like Jan 06?!

                  1. Don't forget...217 people charged with...rioting....

                    You keep saying "there was no riot". Despite cars being torched, police officers assaulted, building vandalized, and hundreds of arrests for rioting.

                    You're just not believable. There are facts...then there's what you assert. Once again, you provide nothing in your defense.

                    1. You have been around here long enough to know that the name of the charge is not the same as the reality.

                      You're exaggerating an event with a different intent on a different day. And you call me not believable?!

                    2. How did any of the events you describe interfere with the transfer of power? Please be specific.

    6. I missed the pussy hat storming of the Capitol to block the counting of the electoral ballots, I guess.

      1. If you've ever seen a serious attempt to stormthe Capitol to block the counting of electoral ballots it must have been while you were on LSD.

        1. I saw an idiotic attempt, but it was only idiotic because the people doing it were idiots.

          They did, in fact, want to succeed.

          You don't want to believe it, fine.

        2. Still making shit up, Gandydancer?

    7. Here's a fuller version of your quote:

      This unprecedented attempt to prevent the lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next caused property damage, injuries, and death, and for the first time since the election of 1860, the transfer of executive power was distinctly not peaceful.

      The only violent death was, of course, the murder of Ashii Babbitt, and the only thing that caused Michael Byrd to commit it was his own lack of professional responsibilirty.

      1. Jan. 6 was a large group invading the US Capitol to forcibly overturn an election. I’m appalled people keep trying to abstract it.

        1. "Invading"....walking through an open door...

          "Invading"....moving into a space when the Police move the barricades to let you in.

          Here's the "invasion"

          https://twitter.com/mccormackjohn/status/1347613073494962180

          1. How about breaking windows and doors to get in, and beating up police officers?

            Or do you refuse to see that too, you moron?

            1. I think you refuse to see that Jan 6th was mostly peaceful, and many many peaceful participants are being arrested and tried for basically entering an open door while the police let them in.

              Did a few participate in poor choices? Sure. But to say this was some sort of "insurrection" is inaccurate.

              1. Read any of the charging documents. There were not here to peacefully protest the election.

                1. You know what the most common charge is?

                  " parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building"

                  1. This is pretty pathetic.

                    1. You're absolutely correct. It's pretty pathetic that the most common charge is "parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building".

                      But it is. The fact it's being used at all is frankly amazing. It's like hitting them all for jaywalking or some nonsense, then justifying throwing them in prison for months, without a trial, because they were jaywalking.

          2. AL>

            There's an excellent documentary on BBC iPlayer about what happened when insurrectionists attempted to overthrow the US government. I suggest you watch it, and realise just how stupid you look when trying to pretend it didn't happen: there is endless video footage of people doing things that are manifestly and blatantly illegal, and then admitting in interviews to having been trying to overthrow the government.

      2. "The only violent death was, of course, the murder of Ashii Babbitt"

        First, Ashli Babbitt was not murdered.

        Second, she was an ignorant loser.

        Third, by the standard Prof. "Free Speech Champion" Volokh seems to approve, the officer who did his patriotic and moral duty by stopping Ashli Babbitt's criminal conduct possesses a handy claim for defamation against you.

        But enough seriousness. A joke:

        Knock, knock.

        Who's there?

        Not Ashli Babbitt. Not anymore.

  4. "extends back to the administrations of Washington and Jefferson"
    Poor Adams, forgotten even (especially?) in DC.

  5. Well, I'd like to see ol Donny Trump wiggle his way out of THIS jam!

    *Trump wiggle his way out of the jam easily*

    Ah, Well. Nevertheless," @BronzeHammer October 1, 2016

    Evergreen comment.

  6. The first paragraph shows the judge taking an extremely broad view of judicial notice. For this reason alone, I have a hard time with the conclusion that this is well-reasoned. I submit that if a student turned this in to Prof. Adler, it would not earn a passing grade.

    I would strike the first paragraph and begin with a modified sentence in the second paragraph: "The question of how the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, came about and who was responsible for them is not before the court."

    1. These aren’t just undisputed facts. They are essential to the holding that disclosure was in the public interest and that President Biden’s decision to disclose was consistent with other Presidents’ decisions to disclose executive-branch materials to Congressional committees following major crises (e.g. Reagan after Iran-Contra, Bush after 9/11).

      Q may be entitled to his own facts on the internet, but not in court.

      1. None of the examples that you and the judge claim are similar to Biden's involved a President claiming the ability to extinguish a DIFERENT President's communications privilege and deliberative process privilege. Only in la-la land can one take seriously her claim that Biden did this in furtherance of the interests of the institution and not his own narrow political interests. We all know that's bullshit.

        1. You misunderstand. He didn't do it in furtherance of the interests of the institution. He did it in furtherance of the interests of the country. What Biden did was find that any minor harm to the interests of the institution were significantly outweighed by the benefits to the country, and that he therefore was not going to assert executive privilege.

          The "narrow political interests" are the ones Trump is considering; since he's just a sad failed ex-president, he has no interest or standing in the country or presidency; his only interest is in protecting his legacy (and perhaps his rap sheet).

    2. The first paragraph shows the judge taking an extremely broad view of judicial notice.

      Perhaps you're unfamiliar with the standard:

      (b) Kinds of Facts That May Be Judicially Noticed. The court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it:

      (1) is generally known within the trial court’s territorial jurisdiction; or
      (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

  7. This is why it's a bad custom that former presidents are still called "Mr President" (and likewise for other former office holders). It goes to their head...

  8. Trump is like the second coming of Jesus, except with a shave.

    1. No, he's a cross between Hitler and the Antichrist.

      I think that covers the two poles of this debate.

  9. As noted above, an appeal is sure to follow (if it has not been filed already). Fortunately, this case is moving along quickly.

    Is it? How long will it take the appeals court to rule? One thing Trump is good at is delaying legal tactics. Suppose the Appeals Court rules against him and he appeals to SCOTUS.

    I bet they will happy to help him along.

    1. The appeals court does not have to accept the case. With a well reasoned judgement the appeals court could just pass on the case. Same as the Supreme Court. Trump has not been doing well in courts (maybe he never did). Unless his lawyer do a better job than they have been doing of late, I suspect this could move quicker than expected.

      1. There is an appeal as of right from a refusal to grant a preliminary injunction. But the Court of Appeals can decline to stay the District Court´s ruling, after which the case will quickly become moot.

      2. The appeals court does not have to accept the case.

        That's not correct. SCOTUS has discretionary jurisdiction; the courts of appeal do not.

        Also, unless either Chutkan or the Court of Appeals or SCOTUS decide to issue an injunction, delaying won't help Trump.

        1. Well, so far the Appeals Court has issued a stay until Nov. 30, when they will hear arguments. I suppose Trump will lose, after a while, and then will appeal to SCOTUS, which may take its own sweet time doing anything.

  10. Ultimately, this decision will undermine the independence and capability of the Presidency.

    If any records, notes, briefings, etc can be looked at by Congress, with impunity, as soon as a President leaves office...any President simply won't ask important but sensitive questions that may be revealed later.

    We've seen this story before. Trump's tax returns were sought, discovered, then leaked for political gain. That's all this is. Congress and other Government officials abusing the power of the government for political gain.

    1. Trump's tax returns were sought, discovered, then leaked for political gain.

      When did this happen? The NYT reported some infromation from the returns, but said they got them from someone entitled to have them, and this was well before any of the various efforts by Congress or Vance to get them were resolved.

      1. They got them from Trump's anti-Trump neice, whose lawyer had got hold of them as part of some inheritance dispute but was not allowed to release them. But she stole them from her lawyer's office and gave them to the NYT. Not what I would call a "leak", and a big nothingburger, but, FWIW, illegal.

        1. But, as you point out, nothing to do with the discovery processes by either Congress or the DA.

          (i.e., AL is full of it)

    2. Your premise is false. The President in this case agreed to hand over the records. A private individual was asking the judiciary to overturn the will of the executive branch in this case. The judge simply upheld the common sense notion that executive privelege belongs to the office, not the person, so the office-holder makes the calls.

      If you got fired from a company, you wouldn’t then be able to assert the company’s trade secrets, would you? They’re the company’s trade secrets, not yours. Once you’re out its trade secrets are no longer uour business. Same here. Presidential papers are the public papers of the presidency, not the personal papers of individuals. And only the president gets to decide whether to release them or not.

      1. A company isn't the presidency. "Trade secrets" is a poor analogy...rather details of personal strategy and thought processes are being sought for political gain.

        Democrats would happily reveal details that could damage National Security, so long as the details could potentially damage their political opponent more. That's a problem.

        1. What in this case could damage national security?

          Also, I would point out that Republicans have a history of reveling CIA operatives when it suits their political purpose.

          1. Valerie Plame? Don't make me laugh.

            And what damages national security is not the content of the records, but the loss of all the reasons for executive privilege to exist. You don't need an executive priv claim to hold back nuclear secrets.

        2. What are a company’s trade secrets if not its strategy and thought processes?

          The analogy is perfectly apt.

          Trump’s practice of routinely accusing the Democrats of doing things he himself was doing or about to do has deep roots. Stalin, whom Trump deeply admired, accused the Trotskyists of (and denounced them for) secretly negotiating with Hitler while he was secretly negotiating with Hitler.

          In applying Stalin’s practice of denouncing his political enemies for doing the things he himself was doing, Trump took yet another page from Stalin’s playbood.

          1. "What are a company’s trade secrets if not its strategy and thought processes?"

            The dumbness of this question is of a depth that can scarcely be imagined, still less plumbed.

          2. Most of my work product falls in that category, but isn't "strategy and thought processes", unless you regard the design of tools and manufacturing equipment used in house as such.

          3. "What are a company’s trade secrets if not its strategy and thought processes?"

            Sigh... An INDIVIDUAL'S Strategy and thought processes are not trade secrets.

            Here are some examples of actual trade secrets.

            Processes for converting raw materials into other usable materials.
            Recipes for food or food products.
            Methods of manufacturing consumer products.
            Chemical formulas for cleaning products or other similar goods.
            Technological processes, such as computer program processes or scripts?

            1. Trump never asserted any privelege he might have as an individual. He only asserted the privelege of the wxecutive branch. As the judge noted, Trimp’s purely personal strategies and thought processes - his strategies and thought processes as an INDIVIDUAL - are outside the scope of the congressional request. And because Trump never asserted any personal rights in any of the disputed documents he may have as an INDIVIDUAL, it is uncontested that his strategies and thought processes as an INDIVIDUAL are completely irrelevant.

              The congressional request concerns only the strategies and thought processes of the President of the United States, not Mr. Trump as an INDIVIDUAL. The priveleges involved are priveleges of the President of the United States, not Mr. Trump as an INDIVIDUAL. Accordingly, it is for the President and only the President to decide whether or not to assert executive privelege.

              As the Judge pointed out, if Me. Trump had claimed Congress was asking for papers related to his campaign strategy or other purely personal matters, he could have asserted his personal interest in them. He didn’t.

          4. ReaderY...The analogy is perfectly apt.

            Not so sure about that. The private, internal deliberations of a private company don't have the same potential impact as a POTUS. For example, I don't think it would be very smart to release internal deliberations on North Korea. Releasing private, internal deliberations of any POTUS has the potential to start wars. No joke.

            I am not sure what the 'right' answer is here wrt POTUS Trump. While I want the record of events for January 6th, the net being cast by Congress is very, very wide. That is what gives me pause.

            1. Perhaps the President was right in his assessment of the potential impact, perhaps wrong. What makes it the courts’ business to substitute their own opinions on such matters for the President’s?

              I mean, the President’s choice of who should be head of a department can have huge impact. But if the Senate confirms, somebody who disagrees with the President’s choice doesn’t get to haul the President into the court and explain that the President was wrong and the judge resllu needs to intervene because of the major consequences of the President’s bad decisions.

              Predicting unknown future consequences are quintessentially political matters. It’s what the political branches are for.

              Judges aren’t prophets. They have no special ability to predict the future. And they have no accountability if they’re wrong.

              1. What makes it the courts’ business to substitute their own opinions on such matters for the President’s?

                The honest answer is: It is not the Court's business to substitute their own opinions for the President’s. It is a political fight, ultimately.

            2. For example, I don't think it would be very smart to release internal deliberations on North Korea. Releasing private, internal deliberations of any POTUS has the potential to start wars. No joke.

              That's true, but Biden has no interest in starting a war with North Korea; he is perfectly capable of asserting executive privilege to protect against that.

            3. The thing is, the sitting President in fact has every incentive to assert executive privilege over his predecessor's documents, party affiliation not withstanding.

              After all, he too will be ex-President someday and doesn't want too much revealed. Not to mention that he might appreciate the various legitimate concerns involved. Some Presidents - most probably - are, after all, concerned about the national interest.

        3. "A company isn't the presidency. "Trade secrets" is a poor analogy...rather details of personal strategy and thought processes are being sought for political gain. Democrats would happily reveal details that could damage National Security, so long as the details could potentially damage their political opponent more. That's a problem."

          All armchair. No lawyer.

          And precisely the level of legal insight readers have come to expect at the Volokh Conspiracy.

          1. Except when Spinchter pollutes the comment threads with an unmatched idiocy.

        4. Democrats would happily reveal details that could damage National Security, so long as the details could potentially damage their political opponent more. That's a problem.

          Fuck you.

          1. Truth hurts Bernard.

            1. Truth is your comment is based on nothing but your partisan bile. Calling the opposition traitors is a shit way to be in a Republic.

              1. I didn't call them traitors. But I seem to hear that regularly from you all...

                1. reveal details that could damage National Security

                  Don't lie, asshole.

                  You're working very hard to justify an insurrection and no one here is calling you a traitor. And even if they did, that doesn't justify you making stuff up about what liberals totally would do.

                  1. "You're working very hard to justify an insurrection and no one here is calling you a traitor."

                    I sure as hell am. Because he is, that's blatantly obvious. He doesn't believe in the USA, he wants to dissolve the Union, abolish the constitution, and so-on.

                    Traitorous scumbags who oppose everything about the country that gave them everything they have should be labelled as such.

                    1. "Truth is your comment is based on nothing but your partisan bile. Calling the opposition traitors is a shit way to be in a Republic."

                  2. There was no "insurrection".

                    Insurrections don't have the police letting people into the building.
                    Insurrections don't have people peacefully going into a building, then leaving of their own accord a few hours (or even minutes) later.

                    There was a protest that got a little out of hand. Not a single person was directly killed by any of the protestors. Not a single firearm was used by any of the protestors. Most of them who entered the Capitol did so peacefully, then left.

                    The Wilimington Insurrection is 1898 was an insurrection. Violence, multiple dead people, multiple shots fired by insurrectionists.

                    This was nothing of the sort.

            2. So list for me some of the privileged information with national security implications that has been revealed since Biden became president. Or for that matter the financial information that was supplied to the NY Attorney General by Trump's financial advisors and banks.

      2. The presidency is not a company. The dynamics and responsibilities are entirely different. Trade secrets get protection due to their economic value to the owner, and the owner's efforts to keep them private. At best, the president is custodian and agent for the sovereign.

    3. "That's all this is. Congress and other Government officials abusing the power of the government for political gain."

      Do you take any pride in the stupidity of your remarks?

      Do you think that anyone outside of your fellow cultists believes you?

      1. Please..

        Ask yourself...why did Democrats in Congress spend so much time and effort to get Trump's tax returns. Be honest with yourself.

        1. I believe a big part of the effort was to check if the former President was in violation of the emoluments clause. Presidential candidates routinely furnish tax records as a show of good faith that they will not be using the office to enrich themselves. While I would not make this mandatory I would also not vote for a candidate unwilling to release his tax records and I would have no problem with Congress requesting those records if needed.

          1. " Presidential candidates routinely furnish tax records as a show of good faith that they will not be using the office to enrich themselves. "

            It is absolutely impossible for the tax records of of a non-incumbent Presidential candidate to demonstrate any such thing.

            It might be reasonable to examine the tax records of a sitting President for such, but then only the tax records for the years he was President would be relevant.

            They wanted Trump's tax records going back at least 5 years before he even declared his candidacy.

            1. I think the reason is to reveal possible conflicts, questionable financial dealings, etc.

              The whole thing is laughable. None of Trump's defenders on this ever address his frequent promises to release his returns.

              Nor do they address the fact that while Trump was claiming financial genius as a qualification, he absolutely refused to provide evidence of that claimed brilliance. Kinda makes non-cultists suspicious.

              1. "I think the reason is to reveal possible conflicts, questionable financial dealings, etc."

                And do WHAT with them exactly? Congress is not a law enforcement body. They are a legislative body. Congress does not investigate individual citizens for potential wrongdoing...it violates the Separation of Powers on a basic level.

              2. You can't be so dumb as to believe this.

                The reason was to find out that he didn't pay any taxes for lots of years, as real estate developers do, and then smear him for not paying more taxes than required under law.

                Then Trump made them so angry about it, stirring up a tempest in a teapot, that they became unhinged and wanted to win that battle for its own sake, and then invented wholly nonsensical things like RUSSIA and PUTIN would be on his tax returns.

                1. Yep. There's lot of these smears.

                  One of my favorite smears is that "In 2016, Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax, and in 2017, he paid another $750 in federal income tax.[45] This was much less than other recent presidents paid while in office. His immediate two predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush routinely paid $100,000 annually in federal income tax, and sometimes far more"

                  What did Trump do that George W. Bush and Barack Obama didn't do? Trump donated his entire $400,000 Presidential salary to the government. The federal taxes on that would be in excess of $100,000 dollars. But since Trump donated it all (to the government)...he didn't pay taxes on it.

                  Naturally it's prudent to hit Trump for not paying taxes...

          2. As per Matthew's response...

            "They wanted Trump's tax records going back at least 5 years before he even declared his candidacy."

            Be honest with yourself. It was for political gain.

          3. So why did Congressional Democrats not stop once they lost in court on the emoluments clause question?

            They wanted the tax returns for partisan purposes, not legislative ones.

            1. Exactly. Any truly honest person would realize this.

    4. I disagree. The current President is mindful of the office. Most former Presidents are on friendly terms and the current President could grant reasonable requests to shield papers. The problem here is this is not a reasonable request for privilege. This is an attempt to hid embarrassing or criminal behavior.

      1. The problem here is this is not a reasonable request for privilege. This is an attempt to hid embarrassing or criminal behavior.

        Oh, so you've seen the disputed material already? Please share.

      2. This is also a circumstance in which being a norm-flouting blowhard and selfish jerk could have consequences. What other president would be inclined to extend any courtesy to Donald Trump?

        Trump can schedule a rally and commiserate with thousands of half-educated, braying clingers . . . but the successful mainstream of modern American society wants nothing to do with him.

        There aren't enough bad things that could happen to him. But he'll always have the red-hatted, bigoted hayseeds.

    5. I agree there would be a benefit in forever locking away a President's records. But I also think it's pretty hard to argue that there is not cost to disallowing any oversight like that.

      It seems you realize that, which is why you add another element: bad faith.
      Which makes sense-piercing the privilege in bad faith should absolutely be off limits.

      The problem is you have not established that.

      1. What is the Legitimate Congressional legislative purpose in seeking these records? Because they need that. What proposed law are they trying to pass that would require them to obtain these records?

        Congress is not a law enforcement body. They are a legislative body. But this partisan "Committee" is acting like a pseudo-law enforcement body.

        1. Jan 06 was some bad business and worth looking into. You. think it was no big deal, but that’s on you. And on the GOP for turning into its defenders.

          1. "What is the Legitimate Congressional legislative purpose in seeking these records? Because they need that"

            Failure to answer the question, yet again Sarcastro.

            1. Oh I answered the question. You have a bad habit of being unable to read stuff yiu don’t wanna.

              1. What legislative purpose? What law would be served by seeking these records that they would need it for?

                Congress already has a complete investigative report. What purpose does this partisan commission serve? Because it is a uniquely partisan commission.

                1. The legislative power includes oversight of the government. There are even committees about it!

                  Your willful blindness is really kicking today.

        2. Yeah, looking into laws to prevent Jan 6th and the unlawful attemps to overturn our election doesn't sound like a legitimate legislative purpose.

          Congress was attacked in their own House, but they don't have any legitimate need to figure out how to prevent THAT from happening again.

          My god you're willfully stupid.

        3. What is the Legitimate Congressional legislative purpose in seeking these records? Because they need that. What proposed law are they trying to pass that would require them to obtain these records?

          Under existing precedent, they do need to have a legitimate purpose. Under existing precedent, they do not need to have a "proposed law [that] they are trying to pass."

          All a legitimate purpose requires is that the inquiry must "concern a subject on which legislation could be had." (Emphasis added.) And if you couldn't identify any 1/6-related subjects on which they could enact legislation, you'd be dumber than the armchair from which you pretend to be a lawyer.

          1. What this looks like is a partisan political agenda. Not a legitimate legislative purpose.

            We've had a full investigation already, by the people who best can do those investigations. What purpose does this serve, other than partisan politics?

            1. 1) We have not had "a full investigation already."

              2) As I just explained to you, all a legitimate legislative purpose requires is that it must concern a subject on which legislation could be had. Courts are not permitted to consider whether Congress might have ulterior motives.

    6. Armchair, Trump's problem? He created tax returns which could be leaked for political gain.

  11. And in 2024, the papers will again be under Trump's control.

    1. We shall see.

      If the documents are not incriminating or at least seriously embarrassing, why is Trump so vigorously resisting disclosure?

      1. Because he wants to protect the privileges of an office he expects, with good reason, to again occupy.

        We just went through four years of Russia, Russia, Russia. Your claim that THIS time will be different would be risible if it weren't so shopworn.

        1. Big institutionalist, that Trump.

    2. You mean 2025 when the next inauguration is but even if Trump wins, he won't be president in 2029.

      1. Ah, so your theory is that spoiled brats with (D)s after their names will continue to abuse their governmental powers to persecute politicians they disagree with.

        That is why Trump made such a big deal about draining the swamp.

    3. The fact that you need to go into political predictions 3 years out tells me you got nothing.

  12. I basically agree with the decision.. Executive privelege protects the office of the presidency, not a particular individual. The person who can exercise it is the office holder, the cureent President. If the current President agrees with Congress and the request is within the broad scope of Congress’ investigative power, it is not for courts to entertain arguments by an ex-President that both Congress and the President are wrong about what is essentially a matter of executive-legislative relations.

  13. I read the first paragraph and whew! This is one heck of a kool-aid chugging judge. The January 6 "riots" were not even among the top 20 or 30 or 50 political "riots" in this country during that single political season. So many ignorant people, like this judge, wearing their asses on their heads!

    Of course, this nonsense is presumably completely gratuitous and irrelevant to the legal reasoning on the issue presented, wherein the judge may be completely right on the merits.

    1. What planet were you on at the time?

      1. There were a bunch of people taking selfies in the Capitol. The real riots came from the BLM and Antifa thugs the previous summer.

  14. Imagine if Republicans actually fought in the same way, they'd be conducting an "investigation" into the BLM and Antifa riots that caused billions more in damage, killed dozens to 1/6's zero, and more bloody assaults by a similar ratio. Why did Democrats make so many incentivizing statements supporting and encouraging these actions? Who funds the street-level agitators that get flown in from out of state? Why was Robert Creamer never arrested and his entire organization investigated after it was revealed that they equipped, trained and deployed agitators to initiate violent confrontations with citizens peacefully exercising their constitutional rights at every 2016 Trump rally, in order to create a false media narrative smearing Trump supporters?

    Of course when it comes to this 1/6 investigation, it will remain firmly in the realm of fantasy and innuendo, light on serious facts and won't go very deep into anything. If they did that they would have to answer lots of more real questions like what Ray Epps was doing and why he was immediately removed from the FBI's most wanted list. Or why in "America" we have actual political prisoners locked up indefinitely and beaten and tortured, then maybe released if they renounce Trump and pledge fealty to Joe Biden. https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1453127682296844291

    1. Missed the whole series of Benghazi "investigations", huh?

      1. Fair point, that one seemed to get quite tedious and drawn out and showy. Most Republicans (aside from a few like Rand Paul) will avoid more serious things that are difficult or inconvenient to dig into, in favor of latching onto something with a little more immediate political juice.

        I know almost nothing about the Benghazi topic. I remember my grandmother, who was a very moderate person politically, was pretty angry at Democrats/Hillary about it.

        1. "I know almost nothing about the Benghazi topic."

          How convenient - and expected.

      2. Are you talking about the investigation that uncovered Hillary's illegal email server with classified data spills all over it?

        That one?

        1. Hillary's email server was not "illegal." No law forbids the use of personal email, as long as government records are properly preserved. Nor were there "classified data spills all over it."

          1. Any email server that was deliberately set up to connect to classified networks without approval is in violation of several laws.
            And yes, there were classified data spills all over it. At least 60 different emails with classified data were present on that server, included several emails with TS/SCI data.

            When classified data is found on a server that is not authorized for it, it is called a data spill. There were emails with classified data on that server. That server was not authorized to store classified data. Therefore, yes, there were classified data spills - at least 60 of them.

            1. Any email server that was deliberately set up to connect to classified networks without approval is in violation of several laws.

              Only problem is that this is entirely fiction. Her server did not "connect to classified networks." It was an ordinary email server on the public Internet. There was no connection between it and SIPRNet or JWICS. Any classified material on there was simply because someone sent an email to her personal account rather than her classified one.

        2. Uhh, no.

          To the extent you believe the email server was a problem, its existence was publicly revealed by Guccifer over a year before the first Benghazi hearing.

    2. If Republicans fought the same way Democrats do, they'd be using sarin on them.

  15. I'm puzzled as to why the White House announced that Biden would not be invoking executive privilege for these papers, instead of affirmatively waiving privilege which I have to assume would have brought this to a close a lot more rapidly. Judge Chutkan ends up interpreting that refusal as equivalent to active opposition, but that is a questionable equivalence and a weakness in her reasoning that didn't need to be there if Biden had acted more definitively. Why would he want to leave the possibility of this being dragged out further?

    1. I don't understand what distinction you're making, or how it's applicable to this case. The PRA sets forth a procedure; Biden did his part by saying he wasn't asserting it.

      1. Trump claims of privilege are based on the Constitution. To the extent that he has any, I would agree that they cannot be limited by statute, and that the PRA procedure that denies a former president's constitutional privilege claims unless supported by the incumbent is unconstitutional. The PRA even acknowledges it has no such authority in §2204(c)(2)

        Nothing in this Act shall be construed to confirm, limit, or expand any constitutionally-based privilege which may be available to an incumbent or former President.

        I do believe though that an explicit waiver of privilege by the incumbent would override a former president's claim whether statutory or constitutional, and wonder why Biden didn't take that path to short-circuit these arguments.

        1. There is no legal difference between an explicit waiver and a failure to timely assert it. Announcing that one is not going to assert a privilege is an explicit waiver of it.

          1. It is not so clear when a privilege is jointly held.

        2. I do believe though that an explicit waiver of privilege by the incumbent would override a former president's claim whether statutory or constitutional, and wonder why Biden didn't take that path to short-circuit these arguments.

          Because you're procedurally incorrect. Biden can waive executive privilege, but NARA has no statutory authority to release these documents over the objection of a former president unless a court says so. Trump isn't just asserting a free-standing constitutional claim of executive privilege; he's invoking the procedures of the PRA. From the implementing regulations of that statute:

          36 C.F.R. § 1270.44(d) Once the Archivist notifies the former and incumbent Presidents of the Archivist's intent to disclose records under this section, either President may assert a claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosing the record or a reasonably segregable portion of it within 30 calendar days after the date of the Archivist's notice. The incumbent or former President must personally make any decision to assert a claim of constitutionally based privilege against disclosing a Presidential record or a reasonably segregable portion of it.

          (e) The Archivist does not disclose a Presidential record or reasonably segregable part of a record if it is subject to a privilege claim asserted by the incumbent President unless:

          (1) The incumbent President withdraws the privilege claim; or

          (2) A court of competent jurisdiction directs the Archivist to release the record through a final court order that is not subject to appeal.

          (f)(1) If a former President asserts the claim, the Archivist consults with the incumbent President, as soon as practicable and within 30 calendar days from the date that the Archivist receives notice of the claim, to determine whether the incumbent President will uphold the claim.

          (2) If the incumbent President upholds the claim asserted by the former President, the Archivist does not disclose the Presidential record or a reasonably segregable portion of the record unless:

          (i) The incumbent President withdraws the decision upholding the claim; or

          (ii) A court of competent jurisdiction directs the Archivist to disclose the record through a final court order that is not subject to appeal.

          (3) If the incumbent President does not uphold the claim asserted by the former President, fails to decide before the end of the 30-day period detailed in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, or withdraws a decision upholding the claim, the Archivist discloses the Presidential record 60 calendar days after the Archivist received notification of the claim (or 60 days after the withdrawal) unless a court order in an action in any Federal court directs the Archivist to withhold the record, including an action initiated by the former President under 44 U.S.C. 2204(e).

          You are assuming your conclusion: that the former president cannot assert an executive privilege claim. I happen to think that's true¹ — in fact, I think the notion that a former president has any say whatsoever in the matter is laughable, and in fact he ought to have no Article III standing to even raise such an objection — but it isn't settled. The PRA provides that a court has to make that determination.

          ¹ Indeed, I'm not convinced that "executive privilege" should be deemed to exist at all, at least vis-à-vis Congress, but of course SCOTUS disagrees.

  16. It appears that the Court of Appeals has issued an administrative stay of the District Court´s ruling and has scheduled argument for November 30. https://news.yahoo.com/trump-asks-appeals-court-delay-172033639.html

    The case is moving along quickly.

  17. Just for those who haven't obsessively followed my posts, I am not a TDS-addled Never-Trumper, which I suppose is a necessary disclaimer around these parts.

    As I understand it, the executive-privilege defense was invented by President Eisenhower to stop Senator McCarthy's subcommittee from getting some executive documents. The committee was the Committee on Government operations and the subcommittee was the Subcommittee on Investigations. McCarthy was *investigating* how the government *operated.* But he wasn't popular in key circles, and his fellow Republicans were in many cases turning against him because he was investigating a Republican administration instead of just harassing a Democratic administration like he was supposed to as a loyal partisan.

    So documents about the operation of the government need not be turned over the the subcommittee duly investigating government operations. And all the people rejoiced (all the people who counted, at least) because behold, McCarthy was a stinker who deserved to lose.

    Now a committee of Congress - a special committee but a committee nonetheless - wants to know about the shenanigans in the Capitol building surrounded the electoral count - a key event where disruption is frowned on. It's a silly investigation, but a duly-authorized one, and even if Trump were still the incumbent, the committee would be entitled to know what papers (and computer files) the executive branch and Trump generated about this apparent disruption.

  18. She's a Jamaican doing the dirty work of her master who appointed her. Not seeing anything well-reasoned in here.

    1. "Not seeing anything well-reasoned in here."

      Said unironically. Somehow.

      1. Nisliko is an admitted Nazi, so… reasoning — either identifying it or producing it — isn't really his speciality.

  19. Your TDS is showing, again.

    When "Executive Privilege" no longer protects ex Executives, you create a system where it's reasonable for no Executive to every become "ex".

    Do you WANT a civil war? Are you unaware that you'll be on the losing side?

    1. Your stupidity is showing, as always. Executive privilege does not exist to protect presidents, let alone ex presidents. Its purpose is not to let them conceal their crimes. It exists to protect the office of the presidency, by encouraging advisors to give candid advice to the current president.

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