A federal appeals court said that former President Donald Trump has to hand over White House records from January 6. He cannot prevent a congressional panel from getting access to White House documents during the Capitol riots.
US Court of Appeals Panel Rules Against Trump On January 6 Records
A US Court of Appeals three-judge panel gave the ruling last Thursday. The panel said that while Trump can exercise an executive privilege, it cannot override the current President’s direction.
President Joe Biden earlier authorized the release of the January 6 documents to the panel to help with the Capitol investigation.
Judge Patricia Millett agreed that Trump does have the executive privilege. However, this privilege must give way “to protect overriding interests’.
In this case, “the president and the legislative branch have shown a national interest in and pressing need for the prompt disclosure of these documents,” Millett wrote.
Trump Likely To File Emergency Appeal
Meanwhile, Trump’s are preparing to contest the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. They are planning to file an emergency appeal to block the release.
Conveniently, the Appeals court gave a 14-day hold on its ruling to give Trump’s legal team to file an appeal.
In explaining the denial, the court said that Trump couldn’t show any specific harm stemming from the documents’ release.
“The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted,” Millett wrote.
“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,” she added.
January 6 Panel, Democrats Hail Decision
Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-MO) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), chair and vice-chair of the January 6 select panel, issued a joint statement.
“We applaud the Court’s decisive ruling, which respects the Select Committee’s interest in obtaining White House records and the President’s judgment in allowing those records to be produced. Our work moves ahead swiftly,” the lawmakers said. “We will get to the truth.”
House lawyers said that the January 6 White house records will help get more details about the riots that happened that day.
Specifically, the documents can help point out how the former President and key supporters planned and mobilized the events on January 6.
Trump Blocked Access While Biden Gave His Go-Ahead
When the committee sought to get the January 6 from the National Archives, Trump invoked executive privilege. He prevented access to over more than 700 pages of documents.
However, Biden overturned the hold and said that as sitting Chief Executive, he’s allowing the material’s release to Congress.
The appeals court cited a 1977 Supreme Court ruling. This ruling is centered on a dispute between former President Richard Nixon and the archives.
While former presidents retain some ability to assert the privilege, the sitting president is in the best position to give the decision.
“Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment,” Millett wrote.
Watch the Reuters news video reporting that former President Donald Trump loses appeal to withhold January 6 records:
What do you think of the back and forth between Trump and Biden over the release of the White House’s January 6 records? Do you think there are important pieces of information available there to finally unmask the January 6 mastermind?
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