The US Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the release of presidential documents sought by the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, The Associated Press reported.
The judges thus rejected a bid by former President Donald Trump to withhold the documents from the committee until the issue is finally resolved by the courts.
Following the court's ruling, there is no legal impediment to turning over the documents, which are held by the National Archives and Records Administration. They include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritten notes dealing with January 6 from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Trump's attorneys had asked the Supreme Court to reverse rulings by the federal appeals court in Washington and block the release of the records even after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege over them.
In an unsigned opinion, the court acknowledged there are "serious and substantial concerns" over whether a former president can win a court order to prevent disclosure of certain records from his time in office in a situation like this one.
At the same time, the court noted that the appeals court determined that Trump's assertion of privilege over the documents would fail under any circumstances, "even if he were the incumbent."
It said the issue of a former president's ability to claim executive privilege would have to wait for another day.
In May, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to form a commission to probe the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The bill was approved in a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.
Two days later, however, Senate Republicans blocked the legislation. Senators voted 54-35 on the House-passed bill, falling short of the 10 GOP votes needed to get it over an initial hurdle.
Without any pathway forward in the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would use her power to pursue a select committee in the House that will be controlled by Democrats.
The committee has so far subpoenaed a host of Trump allies, most recently his former lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell who were summoned on Tuesday.
The House has already voted to hold two Trump associates - former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows - in contempt of Congress for noncompliance with the subpoena.