Judge rejects Trump bid to block records from House probe of Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Former U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to speak during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 11, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
A federal judge on Tuesday rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to block a bipartisan House select committee from obtaining White House records as part of its investigation of the deadly Capitol invasion.
The order came one day after the judge shot down an emergency bid by Trump’s lawyer to stop the National Archives from sending documents to the congressional probe of the Jan. 6 attack.
Trump in mid-October had sued to block the select committee’s request for the archivist of the United States to hand over reams of White House records from the prior administration.
Jesse Binnall, Trump’s attorney, argued in federal court in Washington that many of the documents being sought are shielded by executive privilege.
Binnall’s fiery civil complaint accused the select committee members of seeking to “harass” the former president through a “vexatious, illegal fishing expedition.” It also railed against President Joe Biden for rejecting Trump’s claims that some of the documents are protected by privilege.
On Monday night, Binnall filed an emergency request for Judge Tanya Chutkan to issue and injunction blocking the National Archives from releasing the disputed records. The archivist, David Ferriero, is set to deliver those documents to the select committee by Friday, Trump’s attorney said.
Binnall told Chutkan that if she ultimately decides not to block the committee’s request, Trump will “promptly” file an appeal. In that case, Binnall argued, Chutkan should issue an emergency injunction pending that appeal to give the appellate court time to consider it.
The lawyer, noting the Veterans Day holiday on Thursday, told Chutkan that if she did not issue an order by Wednesday, Trump would “interpret the Court’s silence as a refusal” and move to appeal to the D.C. Circuit.
“If injunctive relief is refused, the National Archives and Records Administration will produce records before judicial review is complete and before President Trump has had the opportunity to be fully and fairly heard,” Binnall wrote in the request for an emergency injunction.
Chutkan denied that request on procedural grounds shortly after midnight on Tuesday, calling it “premature” in the absence of a court order or final judgment.
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