Trump loses appeal to keep Jan 6 records secret
A federal appeals court has ruled that ex-President Donald Trump cannot legally block lawmakers from accessing documents created under his term, which they believe could give more insight into the riot at the Capitol on January 6.
In a decision on Thursday, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a suit initially brought by Trump in October, which sought to bar the National Archives from turning over the official documents to a House committee investigating the incident at the Capitol. A panel of three judges determined that request had no legal basis.
“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,” Judge Patricia Millett wrote in her opinion, joined by Judges Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President [Joe] Biden's assessment.
The ruling won’t take effect for another two weeks, however, with the judges giving Trump time to file another appeal in the Supreme Court.
Lawyers representing the House have argued that the committee requires the trove of more than 700 pages of documents to “complete a thorough investigation into how the actions of the former president, his advisers, and other government officials may have contributed to the attack on Congress to impede the peaceful transfer of presidential power.”
While Trump has invoked executive privilege over the files, the appeals court cited a 1977 Supreme Court case which determined that former presidents only have limited authority over such records, and that current presidents are better suited to decide whether they are released.