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 was issued one day before the National Archives was due to start producing records to the House select panel probing the Jan. 6 attack. This move is currently on hold while the appeals court examines the case according to a reduced schedule. Oral argument is scheduled for the morning of November. 30.
Trump sued the committee in October to stop its pursuit of a tranche records that date back to his time as president. Jesse Binnall, Trump’s lawyer, claimed that many of these records are protected under executive privilege, which allows certain communications within the executive branch to be kept secret. But President Joe Biden refused privilege over the disputed documents.
Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Binnall’s argument Tuesday night. In a 39-page opinion, Chutkan wrote that Trump’s view “appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity.’ … But Presidents 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.
She disagreed with Binnall’s argument that it was in public interest to keep the records secret. “The court finds that the public interest lies not in enjoining but allowing the combined will of both the legislative and executive branches, to study the events leading up to and occurring on January 6 and to consider legislation to prevent such incidents from ever happening again,” Chutkan wrote.
Trump submitted a notice of appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit within less than an hour.
Binnall requested that the appellate court temporarily halt the release of the contested records, while it examines another injunction fast-track.
The House Committee and the National Archives didn’t oppose the request, Binnall wrote.
On Thursday afternoon the appellate court granted that request for an administrative order. According to the court order, the National Archives and U.S. Archives are “enjoined” from releasing records requested by the House Select Committee. The appellate court also granted Binnall’s request to speed up its consideration of Trump’s bid to withhold records from the House panel.
The oral arguments on Nov. 30 will be heard by a panel of three judges. Robert Wilkins and Patricia Millett were both appointed by former President Barack Obama. Ketanji, the third, was appointed by Biden. The bipartisan House select committee is looking into the facts and causes behind the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a mob made up of hundreds of Trump supporters forced members of Congress from their chambers during a joint session. This temporarily hampered efforts to confirm Biden’s Electoral College win.
Trump was impeached by the House for inciting insurrection. He was acquitted in Senate. The select committee, which consists of seven Democrats and two Republicans and seeks testimony from a variety of former Trump associates. These include former senior advisors Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows, and Kayleigh McEnany, former press secretary.
The House panel also wants records from Trump’s time in the White House. This includes communications about strategies to reverse Biden’s victory in the 2020 elections. Trump had made pressure on state officials and lawmakers to contest Biden’s win in the election. Trump and his aides filed dozens upon lawsuits that failed.