A couple of weeks ago, Donald Trump appeared on Fox News and was asked about the investigation into the Jan. 6 attacks. "Honestly, I have nothing to hide," the former president said. "I wasn't involved in that."
For a guy who has nothing to hide, the Republican continues to invest a lot of effort into keeping Jan. 6 materials hidden. NBC News reported this afternoon:
Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to block the National Archives from turning over White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. In a petition filed with the high court, lawyers for Trump said the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals erred in its ruling earlier this month directing the records to be turned over, and urged the Supreme Court to intervene.
For those who may need a refresher about how we arrived at this point, it was two months ago when the bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack requested extensive materials from the White House, prompting Trump to demand absolute secrecy.
In fact, the former president and his team have tried to exert "executive privilege" to block the select committee's requests. As NBC News recently noted, as a matter of tradition, sitting presidents have shielded White House materials at the request of their predecessors. But not this time: President Joe Biden and his team concluded that there are "unique and extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.
Trump and his team sued both the committee and the National Archives, which houses presidential records.
In November, a federal district court ruled against the Republican, reminding him, "Presidents are not kings." Two weeks ago, a unanimous federal appeals court came to the same conclusion.
As regular readers may recall, the ruling was unsparing in its rejection of the former president's arguments. "President Trump bears the burden of at least showing some weighty interest in continued confidentiality that could be capable of tipping the scales back in his favor.... He has not done so," the three-judge panel wrote. "He has not identified any specific countervailing need for confidentiality tied to the documents at issue, beyond their being presidential communications. Neither has he presented arguments that grapple with the substance of President Biden's and Congress's weighty judgments. Nor has he made even a preliminary showing that the content of any particular document lacks relevance to the Committee's investigation.
"He offers instead only a grab-bag of objections that simply assert without elaboration his superior assessment of Executive Branch interests, insists that Congress and the Committee have no legitimate legislative interest in an attack on the Capitol, and impugns the motives of President Biden and the House. That falls far short of meeting his burden and makes it impossible for this court to find any likelihood of success."
It's this ruling that Team Trump wants the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to overturn.
The timing of the appeal is of interest: The federal appeals court gave the former president and his attorneys 14 days to appeal the ruling. Trump and his legal team took the full 14 days — reinforcing the impression that their principal focus is on dragging out the process as long as possible.
Whether the Supreme Court will take up the case — and how quickly the justices might consider the appeal — remains to be seen. The district and circuit courts considered the matter on an expedited basis, but there's no guarantee that the justices would care about the time constraints on the congressional investigation.
If, on the other hand, the Supreme Court doesn't agree to hear the case, the former president will have effectively run out of options.