Attorneys for former President Donald Trump argued Wednesday that the pursuit of his White House records by a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol could have long-lasting, harmful effects on the presidency.
“The [committee’s] clear disdain for President Trump is leading them to a course of action that will result in permanent damage to the institution of the presidency,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in a brief filed in federal court.
“In reality, their success would gut the protections afforded presidential communications of any just and uniform standard. An incumbent president would always be able to condemn the actions of a former president from a rival party and permit confidentiality to be broken to further political ends,” they wrote.
Lawyers for the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee urged the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., this week to quickly release Trump White House records related to the attack on the Capitol. The court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday.
Trump is appealing a ruling this month by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who said the House committee’s pursuit of his records was valid. Trump has claimed executive privilege over his White House records, but President Joe Biden refused to grant the privilege over the documents, including memos, emails, records of White House conversations and visitor logs.
Trump’s attorneys have suggested in briefs that partisanship motivated Biden.
The appeals court recently granted Trump a short-term reprieve by temporarily blocking the National Archives from turning his White House files over to the Jan. 6 committee.
In addition to seeking the records, the House committee has issued batches of subpoenas in recent weeks to dozens of Trump administration officials and allies of the former president. The committee issued a new round of subpoenas Monday targeting high-profile Trump allies like Roger Stone and Alex Jones.