One of the saddest things about Donald Trump’s continued attempt to block Congress from obtaining records detailing exactly what he was doing before, during, and after the January 6 Capitol attack is his continued insistence that he is in a position to exert “executive privilege” over the information, given that he is very much no longer the chief executive of the United States, a fact various officials have tried to get through his extremely thick head to no avail. One of the funniest? That he is claiming his fight to prevent the release of the records is entirely altruistic, and that he is waging it not for himself but in order to protect future presidents.
In court on Tuesday, the ex-president’s lawyers argued that allowing the House select committee investigating the insurrection to find out exactly what Trump did and who he spoke to while the Capitol was being sacked will result in Congress going after presidents from here on out. “In these hyperpartisan times, Congress will increasingly and inevitably use this new weapon to perpetually harass its political rival,” Trump attorneys Jesse Binnall and Justin Clark wrote in a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The lawyers went onto claim that henceforth, Congress would find excuses, like the January attack on democracy, to pry into White House documents. “Every Congress will point to some unprecedented thing about ‘this President’ to justify a request for his presidential records,” they wrote.
This, of course, is a hilarious position to take for a few reasons, one of which is that Trump has never not acted entirely out of self-interest in his 75 years on Earth, and probably isn’t going to start now. Another is the notion that Congress is simply acting on partisan motivations here, rather than attempting to investigate one of the worst events in American history. And then there’s the idea that Trump just cares so deeply about the sanctity of the office of the president. Yes, Trump, the man who shat on the presidency on a daily basis from 2017 to 2021—that guy is looking out for future officeholders and desperately wants to ensure no one gets any ideas about abusing their power. It’s a truly believable argument that doesn‘t fly in the face of literally everything we know about him.