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Day 365

1/ Senate Democrats are pressing ahead on voting rights despite unified opposition from Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and Senate Republicans. A vote on voting rights legislation is expected to happen tonight. Republicans are expected to block the bill, which will prompt Chuck Schumer to then hold a vote to change Senate rules to allow for a “talking filibuster” that only covers the voting package, allowing it to pass by a simple majority in the evenly divided Senate. Manchin and Sinema, however, are expected to oppose the proposed changes. Manchin, meanwhile, admonished Democrats’ effort to change the filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation, calling it “a great misleading of the American people” and a “perilous course” for the nation, while accusing his Democratic colleagues of trying to take the “easy way out” by “break[ing] the rules to change the rules.” (Politico / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Supreme Court clears the way for House to get Trump White House documents

The Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for the release of presidential records from the Trump White House to a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

The court’s order means that more than 700 documents will be transferred to Congress that could shed light on the events leading up to the insurrection when hundreds of rioters converged on the Capitol attempting to stop certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas said publicly that he would have granted former President Donald Trump’s request to block the document handover from the National Archives to the House select committee. The other justices did not make their votes public.

The Biden White House supports releasing the records to the committee, after determining the disclosure is in the nation’s best interest and declining to assert executive privilege.

The select committee is seeking more than 700 pages of disputed documents as it explores Trump’s role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. That includes his appearance at a January 6 rally in which he directed followers to go to the US Capitol where lawmakers were set to certify the election results and “fight” for their county.

The documents include activity logs, schedules, speech notes and three pages of handwritten notes from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows – paperwork that could reveal goings-on inside the West Wing as Trump supporters gathered in Washington and then overran the Capitol, disrupting the certification of the 2020 vote.

Trump is also seeking to keep secret a draft proclamation honoring two police officers who died in the siege and memos and other documents about supposed election fraud and efforts to overturn Trump’s loss of the presidency, the National Archives has said in court documents.

The move effectively moots former Trump’s pending appeal in the case that centered on keeping the documents secret. Lawyers for Trump say the documents are sensitive and privileged records.

“The disagreement between an incumbent President and his predecessor from a rival political party is both novel and highlights the importance of executive privilege and the ability of Presidents and their advisers to reliably make and receive full and frank advice, without concern that communications will be publicly released to meet a political objective,” Trump’s lawyer, Jesse R. Binnall told the justices.

He stressed that Congress had no valid legislative purpose for requesting the documents. “Congress may not rifle through the confidential presidential papers of a former President to meet political objections,” Binnall added.

But the Biden administration argued that withholding the records based on executive privilege is not in the interest of the United States. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said that in light of the “extraordinary events” of January 6, President Joe Biden had decided that that an assertion of executive privilege is “not justified.”

A federal appeals court ruled against Trump, holding that he “has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents.”

The court noted that the events “marked the most significant assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812,” but agreed to freeze its ruling until the Supreme Court acted.

“Tonight’s ruling is a major setback for former President Trump in his efforts to block the National Archives from turning over documents to the January 6 Committee,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “Although the justices did not rule on whether the court of appeals correctly rejected his suit, by not blocking the handing over now, the justices have allowed that ruling to be the final word.”



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