Appeals court grants Trump delay in releasing records to Jan. 6 probe

Appeals court grants Trump delay in releasing records to Jan. 6 probe

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Oct. 9, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Thursday granted former President Donald Trump‘s request to temporarily halt the release of White House records to lawmakers investigating the deadly Capitol invasion.

The court order came one day before the National Archives was set to begin producing those records to the House select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack.

Trump had sued the committee in mid-October to block its pursuit of a tranche of records from Trump’s term in office, arguing that many of them are protected by executive privilege, the doctrine that allows some executive branch communications to be kept confidential. But President Joe Biden refused to invoke privilege over the disputed documents.

A federal judge rejected that argument on Tuesday night. In a 39-page opinion, Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote that Trump’s view “appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity.’ … But president are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.”

Chutkan agreed with the House committee that, in disputes about executive privilege, the current president’s stance matters more than that of his or her predecessor.

Trump filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit less than an hour later.

Trump’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, in an emergency request Thursday morning asked the appellate court to briefly pause the release of the contested records while it considers another injunction on a fast-track basis.

The House committee and the National Archives did not oppose the request, Binnall wrote.

On Thursday afternoon, the appellate court approved that request for an administrative injunction. The National Archives and U.S. Archivist David Ferriero are “enjoined from releasing the records requested by the House Select Committee over which appellant asserts executive privilege, pending further order of this court,” the court order said.

The appellate court also granted Binnall’s request to expedite its consideration of Trump’s bid to withhold the records from the House panel.

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