A federal judge rejected the second attempt by former President Donald Trump to prevent White House records being handed over to lawmakers investigating January 6 riot. She ruled late Wednesday night that she would not place her earlier ruling on the shelf as Trump requested. This opens the door for documents to be released Friday, unless an appeals court intervenes.
Donald Trump speaks to supporters at The Ellipse, near the White House, on January 6, [+] 2021 in Washington, DC. AFP via Getty Images
The Key Facts
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled Tuesday that Trump could not block White House records being turned over. Trump requested to pause her earlier ruling, while she appealed to a higher court. Chutkan said Trump's attempt to hide the documents was unlikely to succeed and that he could not "run amok" to overturn the court's earlier ruling. He also stated that he cannot appeal the decision. Trump argued that executive branch documents, including CNN reports of White House call logs, visitor logs, and memos from former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, should be protected because of executive privilege. This allows presidents to keep sensitive communications private. Chutkan stated in Tuesday's ruling that the argument was not persuasive now that Trump has left office. She noted that "Presidents don't kings and Plaintiff isn't the president."
Chutkan stated that "Plaintiff did not present any new facts or arguments to persuade this court to reconsider its November 9, 2020, Order." "This court will not ignore its own reasoning for denying injunctive Relief in the first place and grant injunctive Relief now."
What to Watch
Trump has already appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The court is expected to quickly rule in his case and could appeal to U.S. Supreme Court if the appeals court rules against him. The documents will be given to the January 6 House committee by the National Archives if the higher court does not block them from being turned over prior.
A group of seven Democrats, two Republicans and the House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack on America's Capitol issued a series of subpoenas to request witness testimony and documents over the past few weeks. Trump seeks to protect more than 40 pages as part of a larger document request. This includes all records related to Trump's January 6 rally and his attempts to contest the presidential election results. Trump filed a lawsuit in October to block certain documents. He claimed that the records request was illegal, unfounded and too broad and amounts to an illegal, vexatious fishing expedition.
The committee is also requesting documents from Trump associates. It has issued two rounds of subpoenas to several figures, including ex-White House officials Kayleigh MacEnany and Stephen Miller as well as advisor Jason Miller and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien. According to the New York Times, more than 150 witnesses have already given evidence in closed-door sessions to legislators. Steve Bannon, former Trump advisor, has refused to comply to his subpoena. This has led to the House holding him in contempt. It could lead to criminal charges.
"Presidents Are Not Kings": Judge Rejects Trump’s Request to Block Records Starting Jan. 6 (Forbes).
Judge rejects Trump's late-night attempt to block the release of Jan. 6 records within two hours (Forbes).
Kayleigh McEnany and Stephen Miller among Trump Officials Subpoenaed by House Jan. 6 Committee. (Forbes).