Trump Fails to Block Jan. 6 Committee From Getting Records
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump failed to block the release of documents sought by a U.S. House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington denied Trump’s request for an injunction on Tuesday, saying “public interest lies in permitting -- not enjoining -- the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on Jan. 6.”
Trump immediately filed notice that he’ll appeal the ruling.
Trump had asked the court in October to stop the National Archives from releasing the documents to Congress, invoking executive privilege, which allows the president to keep certain records confidential. Typically executive privilege is reserved for the current occupant of the White House, but in this case President Joe Biden has waived it. Trump’s lawyers argued that a former president should maintain some ability to invoke it.
Chutkan rejected Trump’s argument that he’s entitled to keep the records secret from Congress. “The privilege exists to protect the executive branch, not an individual,” she wrote. “The incumbent President -- not a former President -- is best positioned to evaluate the long-term interests of the executive branch.”
“Presidents are not kings,” she continued, “and plaintiff is not president.”
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich responded to the ruling with a tweet on Tuesday night. Trump remains committed to “seeing this process through,” and the case was “destined to be decided by the Appellate Courts,” Budowich said. He characterized it as a “battle to defend Executive Privilege for Presidents past, present & future.”
The records that Trump is trying to keep secret from the committee include daily presidential diaries, schedules, appointments showing White House visitors, call logs and drafts of speeches or correspondence related to the insurrection.
Former Trump Advisers
The House committee -- which is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans -- began investigating the Capitol riot over the summer. In addition to seeking records from the White House, the panel has subpoenaed documents and testimony from former Trump advisers, including political strategist Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
At a hearing last week, Chutkan expressed concern over some of the committee’s document requests, calling them “unbelievably broad.”
But in her opinion, she concluded that the requests were appropriate, ruling that they “do not exceed the committee’s legislative powers.”
Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s ruling.
The case is Trump v. Thompson, 21-cv-02769, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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