As the Supreme Court considers whether to take up former President Donald Trump’s January 6 White House records case, Trump’s attorney submitted to the court a new filing Wednesday making the court aware of a Washington Post interview with Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House select committee seeking the records.
In the interview, the Mississippi Democrat said that the committee’s investigation into Trump’s delay in calling for his supporters to end their rioting at the US Capitol could lead to a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
“That dereliction of duty causes us real concern,” Thompson told the Post. “And one of those concerns is that whether or not it was intentional, and whether or not that lack of attention for that longer period of time, would warrant a referral.”
Thompson added: “I can assure you that if a criminal referral would be warranted, there would be no reluctance on the part of this committee to do that,” according to the Post.
Trump’s lawyers told the justices Wednesday that the comments back one of his case’s key allegations: that the effort to obtain his White House records lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and thus should be blocked.
“The Committee cannot make a mockery of Congress’s constitutional mandate that its requests and investigation be supported by a ‘valid legislative purpose,’” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “It cannot embark on what is essentially a law enforcement investigation with the excuse that it might legislate based on information it turns up in the course of the exploration.”
When the case was before the DC US Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump raised similar comments from the committee members about the possibility their investigation would expose wrongdoing by Trump.
“The mere prospect that misconduct might be exposed does not make the Committee’s request prosecutorial,” the appeals court said earlier this month, rejecting the former President. “Missteps and misbehavior are common fodder for legislation.”
The Supreme Court has not indicated how it intends to move forward with Trump’s request to take up his case. The Democratic-run House and the Biden administration are expected to submit filings on Trump’s request on Thursday.