Trump warns against giving Congress too much power as he tries to keep his White House records secret

The court chose not to prevent Parliament’s committees from accessing the president’s records – which the Biden administration supports – would “forever change the dynamics between the political branches,” Trump’s legal team wrote. “In these hyperpartial times, Congress will increasingly and inevitably use this new weapon to forever harass its political rival.”

Some of the records Trump has sought to keep secret include White House visitor records, call logs and notes from his top advisers related to Jan. 6, and his allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, according to a sworn statement from the National Archives.

Trump’s submission to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday is the first time he has formulated his argument in the great power-separation appeal.

The former president’s arguments are based on allegations he has already made in court without success. In the appeal, Trump says he should have the ability to protect some records from his presidency by invoking executive privileges, and that the House’s reasons for seeking the records are not strong enough. A ruling that does not allow former presidents to protect their documents, his legal team adds, “will have a direct and immediate impact on the advice given to presidents by President Biden and all those who follow him,” according to the court document.

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Trump is also grabbing an idea that the district court judge, Tanya Chutkan of the DC District Court, raised during an earlier round in court, in which she reprimanded Parliament for the extent of its requests for information in the January 6 investigation.

“The power of Congress is not limitless, regardless of the dictates of the president,” Trump’s team wrote Tuesday.

Trump lost the case in court. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments later this month on whether Trump, as former president, can control records that the National Archives must provide to the House.

Chutkan previously ruled against Trump on virtually all of his arguments. She found that his wishes could not overcome the current president’s decision to release the records to the House, noting that “presidents are not kings.”

The House and the Biden administration, which represent the archives, are set to file their response to Trump’s arguments next week. Three judges from the DC Circuit, Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson, who were all nominated by Democratic presidents, will hear oral arguments on November 30.

Right now, they have temporarily stopped the National Archives from releasing Trump-era records. Jackson wrote earlier, in a ruling she struck against Trump years ago in a separate executive privilege case, that “presidents are not kings” – a strong signal that he will have a difficult case to bring before the Court of Appeals.


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