Trump’s lawyers defend his ability to assert executive privilege ahead of key court hearing
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Trump’s lawyers defend his ability to assert executive privilege ahead of key court hearing

Donald Trump’s lawyers are defending his ability to assert executive privilege, even as an ex-President, in a reply brief in his lawsuit against the National Archives and the House select committee over January 6-related documents.

This is the last written argument scheduled to come in before a key court hearing Thursday on Trump’s request to block the House January 6 committee from obtaining more than 700 pages of records from his presidency.

“Members of the Committee have already concluded that the former President is responsible, no matter what the evidence says. They can legislate accordingly, or they must explain why each item requested would be material to any decision they intend to make,” Trump’s legal team wrote Tuesday night.

Trump doesn’t add any detail to the National Archives’ itemization of what documents he wants to keep secret, which the Archives revealed in a bombshell filing over the weekend.

The documents he is trying to protect include notes from his top advisers, including his then-chief of staff and press secretary, and records of calls and visits to the White House related to January 6.

Trump reiterated on Tuesday that what he’s trying to protect are the types of records that should be protected in any presidency. (However, past administrations have released some of the same types of records, like visitor logs.)

“The Biden Administration is attempting to waive privilege regarding, among other things, legal documents, drafts of speeches, correspondence, remarks, presidential diaries, schedules, and call logs. These are precisely the type of documents that the privilege is meant to protect,” his attorneys wrote.

As is standard once a President leaves office, the National Archives currently keeps the records from the Trump White House. The agency is already turning some pages over to the House that Trump hasn’t disputed.

The Biden White House has declined to block the House from any of the documents, citing an extraordinary need for transparency for the Capitol attack.

Trump’s lawyers also attempt to make a political slam against Biden, for the Justice Department defending the Archives’ decision that the Trump records should be turned over to the House this month.

“It is curious that Department of Justice has submitted a brief in this case on behalf of the Archivist and NARA when those parties ostensibly have no interest in whether the records at issue here are disclosed or not. One can only assume that President Biden has endorsed the naked politicization of the Justice Department in the service of his own political ends,” Trump’s team wrote.

Trump, however, had named the Archives as a defendant in his lawsuit, necessitating that it respond in court, represented by the Justice Department.

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