Donald Trump Asks His Supreme Court to Help Him in Battle With Jan. 6 Committee

The legal battle between former President Donald Trump and the House select committee investigating the January 6 riots now appears certain to head to the Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Trump on Thursday as he sought to block the committee from obtaining documents from his time as president from the National Archives.

The former president has argued that these documents are covered by executive privilege and the committee has not made clear the legislative reasons for seeking those documents as part of its investigation.

The appeals court rejected Trump's claim in an opinion authored by Judge Patricia Millett, an Obama appointee.

"The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted," Millett wrote.

"In response, the President of the United States and Congress have each made the judgment that access to this subset of presidential communication records is necessary to address a matter of great constitutional moment for the Republic.

"Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden's assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided."

President Joe Biden decided not to uphold his predecessor's assertion of executive privilege. Biden concluded that doing so was "not in the best interests of the United States," according to a letter sent by White House counsel Dana Remus in October.

Trump now has 14 days to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court and his spokesperson Liz Harrington suggested on Thursday that there would be an appeal.

Harrington said: "Regardless of today's decision by the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court.

"President Trump's duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future Administration."

Following the ruling, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the select committee, issued a joint statement with Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is vice chair.

"We applaud the Court's decisive ruling, which respects the Select Committee's interest in obtaining White House records and the President's judgment in allowing those records to be produced. Our work moves ahead swiftly. We will get to the truth," they said.

The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority with three justices having been appointed by Trump, but that does not necessarily mean he will win.

The select committee has now succeeded in court twice—before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in November and before the appeals court on Thursday.

Chutkan's ruling drew heavily on the Supreme Court's 1977 decision in Nixon v. General Services Administration, which was brought by former President Richard Nixon and dealt with matters of executive privilege.

It remains to be seen if the Trump-appointed justices will choose to recuse themselves. Four justices appointed by Nixon did not do so in 1977, and two ruled against him.

Donald Trump Attends an Arizona Rally
Donald Trump at the Rally To Protect Our Elections in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 24. The former president is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court in his legal battle with the January 6 select committee. Brandon Bell/Getty Images