TOP News

Politics: Analysis: Supreme Court ruling is a bitter legal and personal blow to Trump

Supreme Court blocks Biden COVID mandate requiring vaccine, testing at work. Here’s what we know.

  Supreme Court blocks Biden COVID mandate requiring vaccine, testing at work. Here’s what we know. The Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration's COVID vaccine-or-testing mandate for employees at large businesses. How are workers impacted?That's because the Supreme Court Thursday halted the Biden administration's enforcement of the mandate, which would have taken effect Feb. 9 and covered two-thirds of the nation's private workforce, an estimated 84 million employees.

The Supreme Court's refusal to block the release of Trump White House documents to the House January 6 committee represents a huge defeat for the ex-President's frantic effort to cover up his 2021 coup attempt.

  Analysis: Supreme Court ruling is a bitter legal and personal blow to Trump © Evan Vucci/AP

The major blow on Wednesday -- yet another instance of the courts rebuking Donald Trump's attempts to use them for his own political gain -- will allow the committee to go even deeper inside his West Wing and understand what was going on before and during his mob's attack on the US Capitol. It will also likely be viewed by the former President as a betrayal by the court's conservative majority, which he cemented with three picks for the top bench whom he saw as a legal insurance policy as he's continually sought to bend governing institutions to avoid accountability.

Opinion | Don’t Pack the Court. Allow the Number of Justices to Float.

  Opinion | Don’t Pack the Court. Allow the Number of Justices to Float. That would strengthen the court’s legitimacy while keeping partisan tensions in check.Now, it wasn’t totally the commission’s fault. The diverse and esteemed group of legal scholars was instructed not to endorse any single recommendation, only to weigh some of the dominant proposals. But the report itself was rather uninspiring, and so the drumbeat of court reform continues on: Sen. Elizabeth Warren soon became the latest Democrat to hop on the court packing train, endorsing a proposal to increase the size of the court to 13 (surely a coincidence that such a plan would give Democrats seven appointees to the Republicans’ six).

The decision means that 700 documents -- including schedules, speech and call logs, and three pages of handwritten notes from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows -- can be transferred from the National Archives to the House committee, a process that was already underway Wednesday evening.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, welcomed the court decision as a "victory for the rule of law and American democracy" and vowed to uncover all the facts about the violence of January 6 and its causes.

Trump had mounted an intense effort to avoid such scrutiny and had already lost cases in district and appellate courts as part of a broad campaign of obstruction of the committee, which has included expansive executive privilege claims by ex-aides -- even some, like his populist political guru Steve Bannon, who were not serving White House officials at the time of the insurrection.

Federal appeals court sends abortion case to Texas Supreme Court

  Federal appeals court sends abortion case to Texas Supreme Court In the latest setback for abortion clinics that have challenged in federal court Texas' six-week ban on the procedure, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday night that it was sending the case to the Texas Supreme Court. © MANDEL NGAN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images An abortion rights activist holds placards outside of the US Supreme Court before the Court struck down a Texas law placing restrictions on abortion clinics on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Another committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" that the Supreme Court ruling was a "very big deal for getting the truth out."

"We are going to get these documents and we are going to go through them and help piece this picture together," the California Democrat said.

The case came together after President Joe Biden declined to support Trump's attempt to prevent the handover of the documents, arguing that the attack on the Capitol was such an affront to the Constitution that it must be investigated. The Supreme Court did not rule on the key legal question of what happens when there is a dispute between a current and a former president on the scope of executive privilege -- a concept meant to ensure that advice to a commander in chief from subordinates can stay private. But it allowed to stand a ruling by the appellate court that found Trump had not demonstrated that his concerns for executive branch confidentiality should override "profound interests in disclosure" cited by Biden.

Supreme Court to hear challenge from Sen. Ted Cruz that may undermine campaign finance law

  Supreme Court to hear challenge from Sen. Ted Cruz that may undermine campaign finance law Sen. Cruz, an ex-Supreme Court litigator, is challenging federal campaign finance rules limiting how candidates may loan their campaigns money.A day before his successful reelection in 2018, the Texas Republican loaned his own campaign $260,000. When the deadline came to repay the money, his campaign didn't fully reimburse him, so Cruz could challenge a law that has bitterly divided Republicans and Democrats over how candidates fund their campaigns.

Trump's lawyers had asked the Supreme Court for a full review of the case, citing important issues of privilege that will reverberate through history. But the committee made a request for an expedited review just before Christmas, citing the urgency of its investigation. The ruling closes off one avenue of Trump's legal strategy: running out the clock on the investigation before November's midterm elections and a possible GOP takeover of the House.

Net tightens around Trump West Wing


Video: Stakes are 'enormous': Legal analyst on dispute over Trump's Jan. 6 records (CNN)

The Supreme Court's ruling will play into an intense debate over efforts by former Trump aides to assert executive privilege in order to avoid testifying to the committee. Some of those claims are especially unusual and, according to many legal experts, frivolous because they cover conversations between officials and outsiders, rather than with the then-President.

Wednesday's ruling, in which only conservative Justice Clarence Thomas signaled dissent, will also offer a new mark of legitimacy to the select committee, amid claims by pro-Trump Republicans that it is an illegally constituted witch hunt despite being voted into being by the House. It will also boost the committee's race against time as it tries to complete its work before a possible new Republican majority shuts it down.

Supreme Court allows Jan. 6 committee to get Trump documents

  Supreme Court allows Jan. 6 committee to get Trump documents WASHINGTON (AP) — In a rebuff to former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court is allowing the release of presidential documents sought by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. The justices on Wednesday rejected a bid by Trump to withhold the documents from the committee until the issue is finally resolved by the courts. Trump's lawyers had hoped to prolong the court fight and keep the documents on hold. FollowingThe justices on Wednesday rejected a bid by Trump to withhold the documents from the committee until the issue is finally resolved by the courts. Trump's lawyers had hoped to prolong the court fight and keep the documents on hold.

The net has significantly tightened around the Trump White House in recent weeks.

CNN reported earlier this month that the committee had received firsthand information from multiple sources about what Trump had been doing in the White House during the insurrection. Then-Vice President Mike Pence's national security adviser Keith Kellogg, who was with Trump on that notorious day, has also testified to the panel, sources told CNN's Jamie Gangel.

On Tuesday, CNN exclusively reported that the committee had subpoenaed and obtained phone number records from one of the ex-President's sons, Eric Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to his brother, Donald Trump Jr. The committee is interested in investigating the level of coordination between Trump's team and organizers of the Washington rally at which the then-President told supporters who later moved to the Capitol to "fight like hell" to stop Congress from certifying Biden's election win. Committee members also want more information on the extreme legal scheme hatched by some Trump advisers designed to convince Pence to interfere in the process of counting electoral votes from the states. And the panel wants answers on why it took Trump so long to call for his supporters to leave the Capitol.

What the fallout from the Supreme Court's Texas abortion ruling means for the future of Roe

  What the fallout from the Supreme Court's Texas abortion ruling means for the future of Roe As the Roe v. Wade ruling celebrates its 49th anniversary on Saturday, the vast majority of abortions have been outlawed for nearly five months in the second most populous state in the country. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on November 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. The way the Supreme Court has handled Texas' ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy signaled that its Roe precedent -- a landmark abortion rights decision -- does not stand to be fully intact by its 50th anniversary.

But even if Wednesday's decision helps the committee paint an even more dire depiction of Trump's culpability for the riot and his behavior on January 6, it appears unlikely to meaningfully reshape the fraught politics of the insurrection. Swathes of the Republican Party, especially in the House, have done their best to whitewash Trump's role that day as he contemplates a possible comeback presidential bid in 2024. Millions of Trump supporters are persuaded by his false claims of election fraud and his argument that the real insurrection was in the November 2020 election, rather than on January 6, 2021.

A blow to Trump's perverse sense of loyalty

There is no doubt, however, that Trump will be apoplectic that his three Supreme Court nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, did not publicly dissent from denying his bid to keep his West Wing records secret. Trump has repeatedly slammed the Supreme Court for throwing out his false claims of election fraud, claiming he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice even though his delusional cases were also dismissed by multiple lower courts. Even before the election in 2020, the then-President had said it was important to quickly confirm Barrett so that she could be in place to vote on any election disputes.

Throughout his presidency, Trump appeared to equate judicial and Cabinet nominations with an act of patronage, viewing those selected as owing him a debt that would be repaid by pursuing his interests rather than honoring the rule of law and the Constitution. He frequently railed at judges who knocked back administration policies, viewing them as politically motivated if they disagreed with his view of a case. The most notorious example of this desire for almost feudal loyalty came when he pressed then-FBI Director James Comey for a pledge of fealty early in his administration, before later firing him over the Russia probe.

The Supreme Court ruling was the second legal blow to Trump in as many days. In a late-night court filing on Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office had uncovered "misleading or fraudulent" financial statements from Trump's business empire. She is seeking to compel testimony from Trump, Trump Jr. and the ex-President's daughter Ivanka Trump as part of her civil investigation into the Trump Organization.

The former President has denied wrongdoing, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement that the "allegations are baseless and will be vigorously defended."

The gathering clouds around Trump would represent a grave legal and reputational risk to a normal politician, but given his talent for impunity, it's far from certain that they will slow his political aspirations.

Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms .
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's upcoming retirement is throwing a curveball into both parties' midterm plans, injecting a highly partisan issue into an already combustible election cycle.Supreme Court nominations have been the subjects of some of the most bitter fights between Democrats and Republicans in recent years, and Democrats are still smarting from the battles over former President Trump's three conservative additions to the bench.

See also