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Capitol Insurrection Donald Trump Jr.

Appellate Court Gives Trump Bad News About His Executive Privilege Claims

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an order that suggests failed, one-term former President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege over documents subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Capitol insurrection are not valid and that the court has no authority to hear the case.

According to Pete Williams of NBC News:

 A federal court order late Tuesday may be a worrisome sign for former President Donald Trump in his effort to assert executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia notified lawyers for Trump, the House committee and the National Archives that they should be prepared to address whether the court even has the legal authority to hear the dispute. Oral arguments are scheduled for Nov. 30.

The order from the appellate court is surprising given the fact that “courts are typically protective of their jurisdictions,” Williams adds.

Specifically, the D.C Court of Appeals asked in its Tuesday order:

“Does the provision in the Presidential Records Act providing that the Archivist’s ‘determination whether access to a Presidential record … shall be restricted … shall not be subject to judicial review, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section’ … implicate this court’s or the district court’s jurisdiction in this case?”

Additionally, the court’s order posed a second question:

“If so, what effect, if any, do [those provisions] have on the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court to adjudicate any of the requests listed in the Complaint’s Claim for Relief?”

If the court of appeals decides it has no jurisdiction in the dispute, Trump could still appeal to the Supreme Court. However, if the appeals court has already decided that it lacks jurisdiction in the matter, it would be unlikely that the justices would overturn such a decision, especially since it would be based on the historical precedent that only a sitting president can claim executive privilege.

 

Categories
Crime Donald Trump The Trump Adminstration

Former US Attorney: Trump’s ‘Executive Privilege’ Claim To Jan. 6 Committee Is ‘Ridiculous’

According to failed, one-term former President Donald Trump, even though he’s no longer in the White House, he still has every right to assert executive privilege in order to stonewall the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

But that, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, is complete nonsense, and it won’t stand up in court.

Vance was a guest on MSNBC Sunday afternoon, and she was asked by host Alex Witt about four former members of the administration — Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, Mark Meadows, and Kashyap Patel — who are obeying Trump and ignoring subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee:

“As you look at the Capitol riot, Donald Trump wanted to assert executive privilege by the House committee and was blocked doing so by the Biden administration. What do you make of his request? Did it hold any water at all? Does he have grounds to try again to keep these documents from being released?”

Vance replied:

“It’s unsurprising that he would make the request. Trump is no stranger to specious legal arguments, but he’s no longer the president of the United States and it’s up to the current president to decide whether or not there’s executive privilege and Joe Biden has already said no, there’s not.”

The former federal prosecutor then added that aides such as Bannon are also barking up the wrong tree:

“For purposes of January 6th investigations, the subject is of such tremendous importance that he will not exert executive privilege. Trump can go to court and claim he still has some rights but you can understand how ridiculous that is, even if, for instance, people like Steve Bannon who wasn’t working in the White House could be covered by executive privilege, which Bannon can’t be, the notion that every former living president could exert privilege is unworkable.

“Biden holds the privilege and says materials can be turned over and a court will order that. The question is how successful Trump will be at playing the delay game he plays with the courts.”

Hopefully the courts will expedite the Trump’s executive privilege claims and put anyone who ignores a subpoena behind bars for contempt. If not, Trump and his minions will be back. And the next time they could well succeed with their coup.

Categories
Domestic Terrorism Donald Trump Elections

Legal Expert: Trump’s Claim Of Executive Privilege Regarding Capitol Riots Could ‘Easily Backfire’ On Him

Even though he’s been out of office for over seven months now, former President Donald Trump continues to claim that “executive privilege” provides blanket protection for him from any and all investigations being conducted regarding his actions while still president, most notably his actions on January 6, 2020, when he may have helped touch off the insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol.

But attorney Teri Kanefield warns in an article she wrote for JustSecurity that any lawsuit Trump might file to claim executive privilege could well “backfire” on him in a way that would leave him even more vulnerable to criminal prosecution.

To begin with Kanefield notes, executive privilege belongs to the sitting president and administration:

“While the law surrounding executive privilege is unclear and hotly contested, it’s generally accepted that the privilege is held by the sitting president — and the Biden Administration has already said it will not assert executive privilege when it comes to at least a subset of matters under the committee’s purview. It’s unlikely, therefore, that such a lawsuit would survive a motion to dismiss — particularly because courts may also simply avoid inserting themselves into executive privilege disputes.”

But perhaps the biggest threat from an executive privilege claim lies in what’s know as the “crime-fraud” exception, which could open up a Pandora’s box of trouble for Trump:

“Such a lawsuit would raise the issue of whether the crime-fraud exception applies to the claim of executive privilege, in the way that exception applies to the attorney-client privilege. This, in turn, could prompt the court to find that the documents sought by the select committee contain evidence of criminal wrongdoing or other illegal conduct on the part of Trump and his associates.

“This possibility is particularly treacherous for Trump because of the prospect of the Department of Justice and White House Counsel weighing in against him on this question of law and fact.”

In other words, if Trump files suit, it could result in him being more likely to face criminal charges from the Justice Department, which is already looking at the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Additionally, it has already been determined that Trump was acting outside his official duties on Jan. 6 and was instead engaged in a campaign event:

“The Stop the Steal rally has already been classified by the Department of Justice as a campaign event, and as such, bears no responsibility to the president’s duties of office. Should the demanded materials contain evidence that Trump or members of his inner circle intended the rioters to disrupt the counting of electoral votes, Trump’s response to the riot also speaks to his intentions in sending his supporters to the Capitol.”

That would make Trump a co-conspirator in crimes committed on that fateful January day at the Capitol. And that means he could be criminally charged as such.

All of this leads Kanefield to conclude:

“Thus, should Trump bring a lawsuit seeking to ‘protect’ executive privilege, the lawsuit could quite easily backfire. Of course, the court may well rest on one of the other long-settled exceptions to executive privilege. But Trump’s lawsuit could also trigger a finding from a court, and perhaps force the Justice Department to take a position too, that the materials sought by the select committee contain evidence of criminal behavior.”

Trump has long been know for wanting to litigate everything, no matter the issue. But in this case, his fondness for using the courts could come back and bite him squarely on the ass. It could also send him to prison as a seditionist.