Appeals court rejects Trump’s bid to keep January 6 documents from House committee
A federal appeals court Thursday ruled against former President Donald Trump in his effort to block his White House records from being released to the House select committee investigating January 6.
However, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals paused its ruling for two weeks so that Trump could seek a Supreme Court intervention.
The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted,” said the DC Circuit opinion, which was written by Judge Patricia Millett, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama. “In response, the President of the United States and Congress have each made the judgment that access to this subset of presidential communication records is necessary to address a matter of great constitutional moment for the Republic. Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided.”
Joining Millett in the decision was fellow Obama-appointee Judge Robert Wilkins and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was appointed to the appeals court by President Joe Biden.
Biden had declined to assert executive privilege over the documents in question, as he had determined that the “unique and extraordinary” circumstances around January 6 warranted the transparency, administration officials said.
Trump brought the lawsuit in October seeking to block the National Archives from turning over the documents to the House committee. The case turned on how courts should handle situations where a former president is seeking to overrule the decision by an incumbent president not to assert executive privilege.
“What Mr. Trump seeks is to have an Article III court intervene and nullify those judgments of the President and Congress, delay the Committee’s work, and derail the negotiations and accommodations that the Political Branches have made,” the appeals court said. “But essential to the rule of law is the principle that a former President must meet the same legal standards for obtaining preliminary injunctive relief as everyone else. And former President Trump has failed that task.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.