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Judges Question Trump Lawyers Over His Attempt to Block Jan. 6 Documents—It Did Not Go Well

Judges Question Trump Lawyers Over His Attempt to Block Jan. 6 Documents—It Did Not Go Well
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

In his efforts to claim Executive Privilege to conceal records from the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, Trump continues his tradition of using litigation to block potentially damning documents.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden waived executive privilege over certain documents relating to January 6, allowing the National Archives to turn the documents over to the committee.

Trump sued to keep the documents concealed, but a federal judge ruled that Biden is not required to honor Trump's executive privilege assertions because Trump is no longer the executive.

The former President appealed the decision, delaying the documents' release as a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals considers it.

It was in front of this three-judge panel that Trump's lawyers buckled under scrutiny of their argument that an ex-president can somehow retain powers like executive privilege.

At one point, Judge Patricia Millet pointed out the Supreme Court's determination that a current President is "best positioned ... to [determine executive privilege] as to the interests of the executive branch."

Millet then asked:

"So what do we do with this dispute between a current and a former president?"

Trump's defense lawyer, Justin Clark, responded that Millet was "fundamentally right" in her assertion, but that the case was dealing with fundamental questions about executive privilege complications.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson framed the question of who retains privilege in regards to what's in the best interest of the nation:

"Is it the current occupant of the White House or the former who does have some interest in the confidentiality of the documents?"

When Clark emphasized a President can specify time periods for his documents to be released to the public, Jackson responded that Congress—whose job is partly to oversee the Executive Branch—is not the public. Clark acknowledged this, but then said Congress had to demonstrate a valid need to see the documents.

Jackson responded:

"But again, Mr. Clark, I guess I'm still confused as to why the former President gets to make that decision."

Social media users shared their exasperation.

They're eager to see the documents.

It's uinclear when the court will issue its ruling.