Trump Attorney Struggles to Explain Why TFG Deserves More Executive Privilege Than Joe Biden
As Donald Trump continues to fight the release of White House documents from January 6th–a very strange way for the self-proclaimed “most innocent and transparent person alive”–his remaining legal team is having a hard time backing up the Former Guy’s claims of executive privilege. Trump’s lawyers argued that it would harm the executive branch if presidents of different parties revealed each other’s confidential communications.
During an appearance in a federal appeals court on Tuesday, Justin Clark reportedly struggled after the judge asked him why Trump has more authority than the current president when it comes to decisions about executive privilege. Clark argued that Trump should be allowed to invoke it to prevent the January 6th House Select Committee from viewing documents related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which isn’t really a strong position to take if there’s nothing to hide.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s arguments by ruling that Biden’s waiver of executive privilege outweighed the opinion of his predecessor. Chutkan also refused to block the committee’s access while the case is appealed. But the appeals court postponed the release of the documents while the case is argued.
Judge Jackson is unwinding Justin Clark’s argument, asking why is it that the *former* president, over the current president, is allowed to decide the statutory criteria for appropriate legislative requests is satisfied?
— Brandi Buchman (@Brandi_Buchman) November 30, 2021
The judges sitting for the appeal tripped Clark up with basic questions like “Is there a circumstance where the former president ever gets to make this sort of call?” as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson reportedly asked Trump’s attorneys. Things got worse for Clark when Judge Patricia Ann Millett presented a hypothetical in which the current president needed to use the former president’s documents for national security reasons.
Clark can’t give Millett a situation un which he thinks a court could let a current president use those documents under her hypothetical.
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) November 30, 2021
“What do we do with this dispute between the current and former president?” asked Judge Millett.
“I think this all boils down to who decides,” Jackson replies.
A judge asks Trump lawyer Justin Clark, isn’t there ANY circumstance where the incumbent president should be given deference in his decision to release documents that a previous president wants kept secret?
Clark: “I don’t think so.”
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) November 30, 2021
The case is urgent because the Committee is eager to review the documents as it considers legislation to discourage upheaval surrounding the 2022 and 2024 elections. Whatever the decision, the case will set a new framework for congressional access to executive branch documents.
Trump will lose his executive privilege case today. The judges are getting tired of Justin Clark’s nonsensical circular arguments.
— Kelly Fauvre (@KellyFauvre) November 30, 2021
[This is a developing story, please check back for updates]