A federal appeals court has rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid not to release his White House records to the House select committee investigating the Janauary 6 Capitol riot.
In a lawsuit filed in October seeking to block the National Archives from handing over the documents to the House committee, Trump argued that his past communications are protected by executive privilege, under which presidential files can be kept secret.
President Joe Biden waived executive privilege on the documents, prompting Trump to ask the court to override Biden’s judgment.
The three-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, consisting of Judge Patricia Millett, Judge Robert Wilkins and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, announced its ruling on Thursday.
The court said there is no basis for the former president’s request to be granted.
“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 Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided,” Judge Patricia Millett said in the court’s opinion.
The Court of Appeals paused its ruling for two weeks, giving Trump space to appeal against it to the Supreme Court.
As a joint session of Congress convened to certify the election victory of Joe Biden on January 6, dozens of Trump-supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the proceedings. Five people, including one woman shot by police, died in the rampage, apparently instigated by Trump.
The nine-member House select committee, which is dominated by Democrat lawmakers, is probing if Trump had knowledge about the riot in advance.
The billionaire-turned politician insists Biden fraudulently won the presidential election, and refuses to acknowledge losing it.
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