A federal district court judge has ruled that executive privilege does not protect former President Donald Trump from a House investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol protest, Conservative Brief reported.
The Democrat-led House Select Committee has demanded that the National Archives provide numerous documents about Trump’s “decisions and contacts” in the months before the protest, as well as his correspondence with the Justice Department, which Democrats believe he directed to overturn the 2020 election results, Politico reported.
Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who former President Barack Obama nominated to the Washington, D.C. District Court in 2013, ruled that Trump cannot claim executive privilege because he no longer holds office.
“There is only one executive,” she said in a hearing.
Chutkan ruled that Congress’s oversight power exceeds Trump’s claim of executive privilege.
She said that the current executive—President Joe Biden or whoever controls his administration—wants to fulfill the Congressional request for documents.
“The person best able to determine whether there’s an executive privilege is the current executive,” Chutkan said.
Chutkan found that Trump’s claim of executive privilege actually is a claim of continued executive power.
“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,’” Chutkan wrote. “But presidents are not kings, and the plaintiff is not president.”
Previous rulings on executive privilege have acknowledged that a former president’s decisions should remain concealed for some time after he leaves office.
Chutkan did recognize that the House Select Committee’s requests go well beyond an investigation into the Jan. 6 protest. Democrats demanded that the National Archives turn over polling data and records that date back to April 2020.
The National Archives plans to give the documents to the House Select Committee on Nov. 12.