Trump’s plan to stop Biden disclosing details of what he as the Capitol riot unfolded probably won’t work, experts say

Former President Donald Trump in the White House on October 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump wants to use executive privilege to block information from being released to a committee investigating the Capitol riot.
  • The committee has requested information from Biden’s White House about Trump’s behavior during the riot.
  • Legal experts said, however, that executive privilege doesn’t extend to former presidents.
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President Donald Trump is unlikely to succeed in his plan to block the release of information about his behavior during the Capitol riot, legal experts warned.

A bipartisan congressional committee is currently probing the events of January 6, which saw the US Capitol stormed by hundreds of rioters, resulting in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

Some of the information the committee has requested on how Trump and his aides behaved during the January 6 insurrection is from the White House itself.

It means President Joe Biden’s administration has a role in deciding whether to release it. The Wall Street Journal reported, citing two anonymous sources, that Biden is leaning towards making the information public.

Trump has said he plans to cite “executive privilege” to try and block different requests for information from the committee, the Journal reported.

Executive privilege is a legal concept that presidents invoke to justify withholding information on the grounds that it would impair the proper functioning of the government.

In order for Trump to invoke it successfully, a court would have to accept that executive privilege can be asserted by somebody even after they leave office. According to two legal scholars, that is unlikely to happen.

Barbara McQuade, a legal analyst for MSNBC, said that Trump would probably be able to delay the White House’s efforts to release information on the Capitol riot but would not ultimately be able to stop it.

“I think ultimately he cannot [claim executive privilege,]” she said Thursday on MSNBC.

“I think ultimately it will be a decision for the Biden White House but I think he can do enough to file a lawsuit in the courts and wait for that to get litigated.

“So I think he can try to slow things down, but I think at the end of the day Congress will prevail and get the documents and witnesses they want.”

Rep. Jamie Baskin, a constitutional law expert and member of the investigative committee probing the events of January 6, told The Washington Post that Trump would be unable to invoke executive privilege because it does not exist for former presidents.

“It’s not really relevant because there’s no president involved – there’s no such thing as a former president’s executive privilege,” he said.

The committee on Thursday released its first subpoenas in the investigation to several of Trump’s closest former aides.

It has also requested records from telecoms and social media firms, the Wall Street Journal reported.