The Court of Appeals is slowing the January 6 committee’s efforts to access Trump’s White House records


Donald Trump

The first batch of documents to be released on Friday is relatively small – Trump denied only 70 pages. But subsequent tranches identified by the archives comprise hundreds of pages due to be released on November 26th. These are now likely to be delayed as well. The records include call logs, visitor records and documents taken from the files of Trump’s top aides such as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

The committee has repeatedly stressed the urgency of accessing Trump’s records as it investigates the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, including the May 6 attack on the Capitol.

Despite urgency claims, the House of Representatives has not denied Trump’s request for an injunction while the appeals court examines the broader issues. The Ministry of Justice also did not comment on the temporary stay.

The composition of the appeals court is likely to encourage House investigators. The order issued on Thursday shows that the panel includes Jackson and Judges Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins, who were appointed to court by former President Barack Obama.

The court’s ruling stressed that the move to freeze the status quo for the time being should not be seen as a reflection of the court’s decision on Trump’s attempt to block the disclosure of files from his former White House.

“The purpose of this injunction is to protect the jurisdiction of the court to handle the applicant’s claims to executive privilege and should in no way be construed as a judgment on the merits,” the order states.

Despite the slowdown, the case is still moving through the normally slow federal courts at breakneck speed. Trump filed a lawsuit in mid-October to block the January 6 committee’s access to his records. A district court judge Tanya Chutkan dismissed Trump’s efforts Tuesday, dismissing the notion that a former president could override the incumbent president on issues of executive privilege.

Trump quickly appealed the decision, telling the appeals court to postpone the effects of Chutkan’s verdict until broader arguments could be heard. The appeal court’s decision to set up a two-week briefing schedule is keeping the case in full swing. Trump is due to submit his written assignment on Tuesday, with a response from the National Archives and the House of Representatives on November 22. Trump will receive an additional response on Nov. 26 before arguing orally the following week.

If Trump loses in the three-person body, he has the option of going to the appeals court or the Supreme Court.

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