Friday, November 26, 2021

The judge is skeptical about Trump’s attempt to hide his role in the January 6 uprising

WASHINGTON. Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to use “executive privileges” to cover up his actions before and during the January 6 attack on the Capitol came across a federal judge on Thursday who did not appear to convince his arguments.

US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan wondered what even the doubts about President Joe Biden’s decision to release documents related to the uprising were based on, given that the case law states that the current president acts in such matters in the national interest.

“Isn’t that the best person for determining executive privileges?” – Chutkan asked Trump’s lawyer Justin Clark.

Clarke replied, “Not an acting leader.”

Thursday’s hearing was to determine whether an injunction should be issued to block the National Archives’ November 12 release of the first package of documents from Trump and his staff to a House special committee investigating the January 6 events.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the 1974 Supreme Court case concerning Richard Nixon’s attempt to destroy the White House records he made after he left office gave Trump the right to assert his privilege, even if Biden refused to do so. But Chutkan pointed out that Congress overturned the case with the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which gives the incumbent the final decision on whether to uphold the privilege.

“I’m not sure if this incident is as useful to you as you think,” Chutkan told Clark. She added that Congress appears to have a legitimate interest in figuring out how the uprising started. “On January 6, riots broke out in the Capitol. This is literally the home of Congress. “

Clarke also argued that Chutkan should have imposed an injunction blocking next week’s release, because if she did not, Trump would suffer “irreparable harm.” “When these documents are sent to Congress, they are no longer there,” he said.

Chutkan said she agreed that the release of the documents was irreversible, but asked why Trump was keeping them secret, given that they were all publicly available. “We are talking about documents that mainly relate to state business. Is not it? ” she said. “Where is the harm? Tell me about the harm. “

“There is harm to the institution of the presidency,” Clarke replied.

To which Chutkan objected: “Well, the current president does not agree. Shouldn’t it weigh? “

Chairman Benny Thompson (D-Miss) addresses the media following a House electoral committee hearing on January 6, July 27, 2021.

Tom Williams via Getty Images

Chutkan said she agreed with Trump’s lawyers on one point: the committee’s requests for documents seemed “alarmingly wide,” requiring some records starting in April 2020, including poll data.

Douglas Letter, General Counsel for the House of Representatives, said the date matters because that’s when Trump began falsely claiming in Twitter tweets that the upcoming election would be rigged if he lost.

Chutkan, however, wondered if trying to sort out Trump’s tweets was a good use of his time. “I’m not sure there is an answer to the question of why the president wrote what he tweeted,” she said.

The letter added that the issue of relevance and breadth should not be decided by the federal judiciary. “They are wide, Your Honor. But this is a matter of separation of powers. It’s up to Congress to decide, ”he said. “The President himself was fueling this attack on Congress.”

“These are records of the United States,” Shapiro said. “He did not suffer from their disclosure.”

Chutkan, who was nominated to federal office in 2014 by former President Barack Obama, has earned a reputation for viewing the January 6 attack as a serious threat to the United States and at times passing harsher sentences on the rebels than recommended. prosecutors.

“There must be consequences for participating in an attempt to violently overthrow the government, besides staying at home,” she said on one occasion.

At the close of an hour and a half hearing on Thursday, the judge said she knew of the November 12 deadline. “I will express my opinion promptly.”

Trump became the first president in 232 years of US elections to refuse to peacefully hand over power to his successor.

He spent weeks criticizing the legitimacy of the November 3 contest, which he lost, lying in the wee hours of November 4 that he had indeed won the landslide and that his victory had been “stolen”. This lie continued through a long string of failed lawsuits challenging the results in several states.

Trump and some of his advisers have even discussed using the US military by enforcing the Rebellion Act or declaring martial law to maintain power despite losing an election, including by hijacking voting machines and ordering “re-voting” in states that Biden won by a slight margin.

But military leaders made it clear that they would not be involved in the political process, so after the Electoral College finally voted on December 14 making Biden’s victory official, Trump turned to the latter scheme instead to pressure his vice president. with the aim of canceling it. ballots of millions of voters in several states, the winner of which was Biden, who declared Trump the winner during the formal confirmation of the election results by Congress on January 6.

Trump asked his followers to come to Washington on the same day, and then told tens of thousands of people who marched into the Capitol to intimidate Vice President Mike Pence into doing what Trump wanted. “When you catch someone cheating, you are allowed to follow completely different rules,” Trump said.

The crowd of supporters he provoked tried to carry out his order by storming the building. They even chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after Pence refused to comply with Trump’s demands.

A police officer died in an attack during the uprising, and four more committed suicide in the following days and weeks. One of the rioters was mortally wounded when she climbed through the broken window into the hallway in which the evacuating members of the House were still located, and three more from the crowd were killed in hand-to-hand combat.

While the House of Representatives impeached Trump for inciting an attack, all but seven Senate Republicans, led by their leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, chose not to judge him, thereby allowing Trump to pursue his political career despite the fact that his actions after the elections are undergoing several investigations.

Trump and his allies are now campaigning to portray the murdered rebel, Ashley Babbitt, as a martyr, as well as hundreds of others arrested as victims of political persecution. Trump himself continues to speculate that he will run for the 2024 GOP election, and is using his committee to save America money to continue spreading the same lies that led to the January 6 violence.

Nation World News Desk
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