A federal appeals court ruled Thursday against former President Donald Trump’s efforts to block the National Archives from releasing his White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said its ruling will be put on hold for two weeks, though, to allow Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is examining the assault on the Capitol by radical supporters of Trump who were actively looking to interfere in Congress’ certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. The panel says it should have the right to see the documents, which are stored at the National Archives and Records Administration, the custodian of Trump’s White House records.
The documents are needed, the panel says, to properly carry out the investigation and determine what Trump knew before, during and after the attack.
Trump said the documents, which include phone call logs, visitor logs, drafts of speeches, memos and handwritten notes, should be protected under executive privilege.
The appeals court sided with the panel in its Thursday ruling.
“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 ruling, written by Judge Patricia Millett.
“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 [Joe] Biden’s assessment of the executive branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the political branches have avoided.”
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