Thompson v. Trump

On December 9, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit soundly rejected former President Trump’s attempt to prevent Congress from accessing records necessary “to investigate a violent attack on its home and its constitutional operations.” The unanimous ruling in Thompson v. Trump overwhelmingly affirmed “Congress’s uniquely weighty interest” in investigating the facts and causes of the January 6th insurrection to safeguard our democratic institutions.

Protect Democracy filed an amicus brief in the D.C. Circuit on behalf of 77 former members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats with more than 1,023 years of combined service—urging the court to recognize that Congress’s extraordinary interests in acquiring information about an assault on itself far outweigh any plausible claims of privilege by a former president who himself is implicated in the attack. The court agreed, explaining that “[e]ven under ordinary circumstances, there is a strong public interest in Congress carrying out its lawful investigations… [but] that public interest is heightened when, as here, the legislature is proceeding with urgency to prevent violent attacks on the federal government and disruptions to the peaceful transfer of power,” as happened on January 6th during which “former President Trump and his advisors played a materially relevant role.”   

The D.C. Circuit amicus brief built on a similar brief Protect Democracy organized on behalf of 66 former members at an earlier stage in the litigation, urging the district court to oppose the former president’s attempt to shield records from the Jan. 6 Select Committee.

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