On Wednesday, January 19, former President Donald Trump exhausted his last appeal to invoke executive privilege over documents and communications relating to the events of January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the Capital Building.
The case has been wending its way through the courts for months after the House January 6 Special Committee subpoenaed documents from the Trump White House and from family members and employees who worked for the Administration at the time of the events leading up to and during January 6.
Trump had invoked executive privilege, a concept whereby Presidents can protect their private, internal communications from exposure by courts or Congress. Lower courts of appeals unanimously stated that Trump couldn't invoke executive privilege, particularly as the sitting President decided against defending that privilege.
The Court was clear in its determination that a former President cannot invoke privilege if the current President chooses to waive that privilege. However, the Court did make clear that this doesn't void all claims of executive privilege for former Presidents' materials, only those that the sitting President has abandoned.
Writing for the Court, Justice Thomas upheld the application, allowing the release of documents. Justice Kavanaugh added further clarification, essentially warning that this was a very tightly applied opinion and did not apply to all communications of a former President.
Within hours, documents and communications began arriving on Capitol Hill. CNBC and other outlets report that as of Friday afternoon, over 700 pages of documents were delivered to the House committee by the National Archives.