Former President TrumpDonald TrumpRittenhouse says Biden defamed his character when linking him to white supremacists Overnight Health Care — White House touts vaccine rate for feds Trump endorses challenger to Hogan ally in Maryland governor’s race MORE‘s inner circle is leaning on unanswered legal questions about the scope of his authority to invoke executive privilege in their defiance of the House Jan. 6 select committee’s subpoenas.
The former aides and advisers are following the example set by Trump, who is fighting in court to block the panel from obtaining hundreds of pages of internal White House records and arguing that he has the right as a former president to keep them out of Congress’s hands.
Lawyers for former White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel subpoenas Roger Stone, Alex Jones Christie: McCarthy, not Trump, will be the next Speaker Lofgren: Many Jan. 6 panel witnesses are former Trump officials MORE and former strategist Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonChristie: McCarthy, not Trump, will be the next Speaker Lofgren: Many Jan. 6 panel witnesses are former Trump officials Jan. 6 panel may see leverage from Bannon prosecution MORE argue that it would be premature to comply with the subpoenas before the courts can address the dispute over the scope and weight of Trump’s executive privilege claims.
Democrats dispute the rationale offered by the Trump camp, accusing them of seeking to delay or stymie the Jan. 6 investigation, but the deadlock is raising the stakes for the committee as it seeks a quick and decisive court victory to secure the internal White House records. A ruling against the lawmakers could have a cascading effect among their would-be witnesses and sources.
The crux of Trump’s suit isn’t about his former aides but about his presidential records, held by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which had been set to release a sweeping trove of documents covering every top staffer and even Trump’s family on Jan. 6 following approval from President BidenJoe BidenRittenhouse says Biden defamed his character when linking him to white supremacists Man accused of threatening Congress sentenced to 19 months in prison 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill MORE.
But lawyers for those aides say that the former president’s lawsuit will resolve unanswered questions about the weight of Trump’s executive privilege claims now that he’s no longer in office and provide legal clarity for how they should proceed in regards to the committee’s subpoenas.
Evan Corcoran, Bannon’s defense lawyer in the criminal contempt proceedings that the Justice Department brought earlier this month for defying a subpoena, told a federal judge last week that his client’s case should not be rushed, partly because Trump’s lawsuit will guide Bannon’s legal defense.
“It’ll be useful as we’re shaping the arguments in the briefs for our motions practice to have the benefit of the judicial record and determinations that are made in that matter,” Corcoran said during a pretrial hearing earlier this month.
George Terwilliger, a former…