A federal judge refused to block the release of documents former President Donald Trump sought to keep hidden that were requested in the House of Representatives probe into the Jan. 6 siege on the US Capitol.
Trump’s lawyers sought a preliminary injunction but District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Tuesday called the issue a “dispute a former and incumbent president” after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege on many White House records sought in the investigation.
“(Trump’s) position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power ‘exists in perpetuity,’” Chutkan wrote. “But Presidents are not kings, and Platinfiff is not President.”
The former president’s legal team signaled it would appeal the decision in a court filing late Tuesday.
The House committee is after a slew of documents, including call logs, talking points of Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and handwritten notes from Chief of State Mark Meadows, according to the Associated Press, citing a National Archives court filing.
The House select committee was formed to investigate the deadly Capitol riot, where a pro-Trump crowd stormed the building as Congress was certifying Biden’s election in the 2020 presidential race.
The select committee’s probe includes looking into Trump’s role in the events ahead of the siege, which included numerous comments claiming his loss was the result of election fraud and his attendance at a “Stop the Steal” rally of thousands of supporters immediately before the riot unfolded.
The committee has now subpoenaed more than 30 people in Trump’s orbit as part of the investigation. Ten subpoenas were served on Tuesday alone, including one to McEnany.
Trump has bashed the committee’s work and called its information-gathering process a fishing expedition. Chutkan found the requests didn’t exceed the committee’s “legislative powers.”
Chutkan said that “the public interest lies in permitting — not enjoining — the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on January 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again.”
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said on CNN after the ruling that Trump should stop behaving like a “spoiled brat.”
“I look forward to getting this information,” Thompson said. “I look forward to our investigators going through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that our government was not weaponized against its citizens.”
With Post wires
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