chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
November 17, 2021

New ABA Legal Fact Check explores conflict over presidential executive privilege

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2021 — A new ABA Legal Fact Check released today examines whether a former U.S. president can constitutionally assert executive privilege to block the release of presidential documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration and subpoenaed by Congress.

The question of whether former President Donald Trump has a legal basis to block a request by the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack for more than 770 pages of presidential documents is now making its way through the courts after the Biden administration did not contest their release.

On Nov. 9, a federal district court judge rejected the former president’s executive privilege claim, citing the public interest and the fact that Trump’s claim was unlikely to succeed on its merits. But two days later, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a temporary stay of the district court order and set oral arguments for the appeal for Nov. 30.

The new ABA Legal Fact Check looks at past U.S. Supreme Court decisions and relevant statutory law. It suggests the current case could lead to a landmark decision because the high court has never decided an executive privilege case when a former and sitting president have been at odds.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public through case and statutory law to find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. The web portal for ABA Legal Fact Check includes a search button for its content, which is grouped by legal topics in nine different categories, including COVID-19 legal issues, presidential authority, election law, and police and security.

The URL for the site is

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.