Posts tagged with "Rep. Bennie Thompson (d-Mississippi)"

Judge rules that Trump’s January 6 White House records should be handed over to House committee

November 11, 2021

A federal judge ruled late Tuesday night, November 9, that former President Donald Trump’s sensitive White House records should be turned over to congressional investigators looking into the departed executive’s role in fueling the January 6 Capitol insurrection, reports The Daily Beast.

Whether it will actually happen is still a bit of a question: Almost immediately on Tuesday night, Trump’s legal team filed an appeal. However, House lawmakers are closer than ever to acquiring internal communications—including phone records for January 6—from within the White House.

And the National Archives, which is in possession of the records, has said it plans to hand over documents Friday unless a court stops the transfer.

That appears to be unlikely at the moment, the Beast says.

Three weeks ago, Trump sued the chairman of the select committee conducting the investigation, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), in an attempt to assert executive privilege and block the National Archives from releasing records of internal White House communications before and during the assault on the nation’s democracy.

U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Tanya S. Chutkan, however, ruled that she would not step in the way of the Archives turning over those records.

“The court holds that the public interest lies in permitting—not enjoining—the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on January 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again,” she wrote.

Chutkan agreed with the committee that this is “a matter of unsurpassed public importance because such information relates to our core democratic institutions and the public’s confidence in them.”

The judge added that Trump’s last ditch effort to keep key details secret would likely fail in a prolonged court battle anyway.

Trump’s political director of communications, Taylor Budowich, issued a statement late Tuesday saying that this battle “was destined to be decided by the Appellate Courts.”

“Pres. Trump remains committed to defending the Constitution & the Office of the Presidency, & will be seeing this process through,” he wrote on Twitter.

His decision to raise the fight to the appellate court could stall the National Archives and Records Administration from releasing it by its deadline this Friday.

Although Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, argued that the former president could still assert executive privilege with the expectation that current President Joe Biden must abide by it, legal scholars immediately noted that the argument is nonsensical, given the obvious fact that Trump is no longer president, and his successor is under no obligation to abide by his wishes.

Chutkin touched on that in her opinion, ripping into Trump for attempting to assert expanded power. “Plaintiff does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent President’s judgment. His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity.’ But Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President,” she wrote.

Within hours, Thompson issued a statement thanking the judge for her ruling, accusing Trump’s lawsuit of being “little more than an attempt to delay and obstruct our investigation.”

“The presidential records we requested from the National Archives are critical for understanding the terrible events of January 6th,” he said in the statement. “The Select Committee’s investigation is moving forward swiftly and we look forward to receiving these important records from the National Archives.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

After security breach at rally, Biden may request Secret Service protection

March 6, 2020

Jill Biden is not just her husband’s greatest champion; she’s also his strongest defender, as she proved when environmental activists rushed the stage at a rally in Los Angeles on March 3 and she quickly stepped forward to shield the candidate.

While the dangerous situation was dealt with quickly and effectively, former Vice President Joe Biden was alarmed that protesters had slipped through his private security cordon and that his wife had been caught in the middle.

On Wednesday, his campaign  began privately deliberating whether to formally request Secret Service protection for the candidate, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, The Washington Post reported..

Both Biden and fellow candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have been relying on private security firms to handle their public appearances, which is unusual this late in a presidential campaign cycle—in comparison with 2016, 2012, and 2008—the Post noted.

But their emergence over the past week as the clear front-runners in the Democratic primaries has prompted calls for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the U.S. Secret Service, to authorize full-time protection for both of them.

“Taking into consideration the remaining candidates’ large campaign operations, high polling averages, as well as physical threats to their safety … I urge you to immediately initiate the consultation process to determine whether to provide USSS protection” to Biden and Sanders,” Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote in a letter Wednesday to Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf.

Representative Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana), a member of the Homeland Security Committee and co-chair of Biden’s campaign, told reporters that Democratic lawmakers were “worried about” security for the Democrats on the campaign trail even before the incident at Biden’s speech on Super Tuesday.

The Biden campaign has begun deliberating over whether to move forward with a formal request to the Secret Service, according to the person familiar with the situation, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to comment freely about a sensitive security matter. The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to questions on the subject. The DHS also did not respond to a request for comment.

Both Biden, during his eight years as vice president, and Sanders, during his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, have received Secret Service protection in the past.

Research contact: @washingtonpost