Judge rejects Trump effort to temporarily block release of Jan. 6 records
A federal judge quickly denied a late-night effort from former President Trump on Monday to temporarily block the National Archives from releasing records from his administration to the House Jan. 6 select committee.
Trump’s legal team filed the unusual motion as the parties are awaiting a formal ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ahead of a Friday deadline for the National Archives to begin handing over material that the former president claims is protected by executive privilege.
Chutkan, an Obama appointee, rejected the request shortly after midnight on Tuesday, saying in a brief order that the request was premature and that Trump could ask for a stay if and when she issues a ruling that he would want to appeal.
The judge has yet to rule on Trump’s overall effort to block the National Archives from complying with the committee’s request, and the latest development does not indicate how she might decide the case.
Trump’s lawyers said in a filing Monday night that they intend to file an appeal on Wednesday if Chutkan has not issued a final ruling by then, saying an appeals court’s intervention would be necessary with the deadline quickly approaching.
“Absent a court order instructing him not to, the Archivist of the United States intends to comply with the congressional request and release the disputed documents this Friday, November 12, 2021,” they said in the filing. “Because of these considerations and because Thursday, November 11, 2021, is Veterans Day, President Trump requests a ruling from this Court on his Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and, if applicable, this motion no later than Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Should no order be issued by that time, the Plaintiff will interpret the Court’s silence as a refusal and take his appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.”
The judge, who has said she plans to rule “expeditiously,” last week appeared skeptical of Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block the committee’s expansive records request probing the previous White House’s handling of the attack on the Capitol and its actions in the wake of the 2020 election.
“Are you really saying that the president’s notes, talking points, telephone conversations on Jan. 6, for example, have no relation to the matter on which Congress is considering legislation?” Chutkan asked Trump’s lawyer during a hearing last week. “The January riots happened in the Capitol; that is literally Congress’s house.”