Appeals court temporarily blocks release of Trump January 6 records to House committee
WASHINGTON – A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court agreed Thursday to temporarily block the release of former President Donald Trump's administration documents, which a House panel subpoenaed in its investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
The decision came as the National Archives and Records Administration was scheduled to release the documents by 6 p.m. Friday. The House committee sought the documents for its probe of what led to the attack and what happened that day.
But Trump has sought to block the committee's access to the documents by arguing the release would violate executive privilege and the expectation that his communications were confidential.
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson blocked the National Archives from providing the documents to the House panel while the panel considers Trump's claims of executive privilege. Trump's written arguments are due in the case Nov. 16. The House and the National Archives are due to respond Nov. 22. Oral arguments are set for Nov. 30.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected his arguments Tuesday by ruling that President Joe Biden's waiver of executive privilege outweighed the opinion of his predecessor. Chutkan also refused to block the committee's access while the case is appealed.
Trump's lawyers appealed the case to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and asked Thursday that court for an injunction while the case is argued.
"In this appeal, the Court will consider novel and important constitutional issues of first impression concerning separation of powers, presidential records, and executive privilege," Trump's lawyer Jesse Binnall said in his 15-page filing. "The administrative injunction would prevent the production of the records at issue while the Court considers the forthcoming Motion for Injunction Pending Appeal."
The House committee had argued in District Court that lawmakers need to see the documents urgently as they investigate and consider legislation to prevent another attack on the Capitol.
Legal experts have said Trump is unlikely to win the case. The case could offer clues about whether Trump's aides such as political strategist Steve Bannon, who defied his subpoena, will have to testify. Former White House advisers have also been subpoenaed.