Federal Judge Tanya S. Chutkan denied efforts by President Trump to block the Democrat-led January 6 committee from accessing documents that he argued were subject to executive privilege. The estimated 800 documents include telephone records and visitor logs, many of which are only held by the National Archive. “Presidents are not kings,” and “Plaintiff is not President,” Judge Chutkan wrote while refusing to grant Trump a stay until an appeals case on the matter is decided.
With a raft of fresh subpoenas, a full-frontal media blitz, and at times outlandish rhetoric, the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol appears determined to do battle with the former president and any who dared associate with him. But is this a genuine effort to find more answers for an issue over which the Democrat House already impeached the 45th president? Or is it a thinly-veiled attempt to score political points ahead of the congressional elections just one year away?
The select committee has issued a wide range of subpoenas for Trump associates as part of its investigation and has been seeking documents that would bolster its case against the former president. Trump lawyers argued that certain documents should remain classified as a commander-in-chief requires “full and frank” advice to carry out presidential duties. However, President Biden had approved the release of his predecessor’s documents, meaning that the panel could request them.
Analysts suggest that this is the first shot in a battle likely to last well into next year. Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich insisted that the decision by Judge Chutkan would be challenged. He said:
“The battle to defend executive privilege for presidents past, present and future … was destined to be decided by the appellate courts … President Trump remains committed to defending the Constitution and the office of the presidency, and will be seeing this process through.”
Fear of Resurgence?
That the committee would be an anti-Trump vehicle was made clear when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected potential Republican members put forward by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) – against all precedence. Such a partisan move signified that this was likely not a hunt for answers but rather a quest for condemnation.
When the second impeachment trial failed to pass muster in the Senate, Donald Trump remained free to run for office again if he so chose. Recent polling for President Biden displays that in every key metric, he falls behind his predecessor and would likely lose in a head-to-head race. And worse, the latest election results indicate that congressional Democrats stand to lose their majorities during the next election cycle.
By tying up every big name associated with 45, by drawing out the committee proceedings, it seems that the Democrat strategy for the 2022 midterms is set: “forget us, focus on the extremists.” There is little doubt that the Fourth Estate will happily oblige in keeping Trump on the front page, detailing every last accusation while carefully ignoring the burgeoning crises that the current administration is failing to address.
This tactic may well help Democrat politicians sleep sounder at night, but whether the American public buys it or not remains to be seen.
~ Read more from Mark Angelides.